By Paul Tocatlian.
Last Thanksgiving during my visit to Vietnam, I had the opportunity to spend some time at the Center for Innocent Children, located in Biên Hòa an hour drive from Saigon. I was joined by Hannah Do who has been supporting the Center for over ten years and my good friend Alan Luu who lives in Vietnam. There are no words to describe how blessed I feel for having met these loving children who given the opportunity will grow up to become remarkable adults and make the world a better place.
The Center for Innocent Children (Trường Khuyết Tật Bé Thơ) was founded in 1990 by Sister Maria Daniel Vu Thi Vinh. Touched by the helplessness of a group of children who were abandoned by their family or orphaned, and the desperate situation they faced, Sister Maria Daniel Vinh found temporary housing and took them in. Wishing to provide them with opportunities for a happier, healthier, and more rewarding life, she gave shelter, sent them to school, and encouraged them to obtain a vocational education. And thus the Center for Innocent Children was born.
With the generosity and helping hands from donors, the Center has thrived for the past 27 years. Currently, the Center cares for 208 children, including abandoned newborns, children with disabilities, and orphans. Even though the Center has much improved from the temporary housing of the earlier days, the Center is stretched over its capacity. With limited resources, and with the increasing demand for housing, food, education, and medical care, the Center has been struggling to keep taking care of the children.
To stay open and continue to provide the children with basic necessities, the Center is looking for your support. A one-dollar-a-day sponsorship would bestow a child with food, housing, and tuition. With enough support, the Center will be able to fulfill its mandate to provide the children with a decent childhood, an education, and a chance at a better life.
This week marks the beginning of Tết, when Vietnamese people from around the world celebrate the Lunar New Year. To my Vietnamese friends, “Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!” To all my friends, colleagues, family, and generous souls, please join me in supporting the Center for Innocent Children. Your contribution will make a small dent in the universe and a big impact in the lives of these deserving children this coming year.