The story of Abandoned Little Angels began with a fateful trip in 1994. After escaping the war-torn country of Viet Nam nineteen years earlier, Tu Chung and her husband Toan Nguyen ventured to return home, planning to visit their remaining friends and family.
Along the way, Tu Chung and Toan met Tri Trinh, a family friend and then-seminary student. They decided to give him $100 for school expenses. Tri thanked them, but told them that he couldn’t accept the money for himself. Instead, he planned to give the money to an orphanage in Da Lat, Vietnam. Inspired and curious, Tu Chung and her husband decided to pay a visit to the orphanage.
What they discover there breaks their hearts. The orphanage, run by dedicated local nuns, serves hundreds of children who have no other place to call home. The nuns are overwhelmed. On top of trying to house and raise these children, they can barely afford the small servings of rice and pickled vegetables they serve to the children each day. Tu Chung and Toan are stunned by both the nuns’ and children’s poverty and the sheer love and strength they show despite it. The children remind Toan of his own childhood. Toan, himself, lived part of his life in an orphanage as a war refugee, separated from his parents as a child. Tu Chung and Toan, kindled by what they witnessed, committed themselves to making a difference.
When they returned to the United States, they began to raise money to send over. They collected aluminum cans to sell and gathered items from their family for garage sales. Through sheer determination, they raised $945 to send to the Da Lat orphanage that year. In the next few years, they also began to ask for donations directly from their family and friends who live in the United States. With their help, they collected a momentous $3,000, which they sent to three different
Each year, Tu Chung and Toan returned to Vietnam to check on the orphanages they assisted and visited new ones. They invited family and friends to join them on their trips, hoping to raise awareness of the poverty that the children face. These visitors saw snapshots of the children’s daily lives: a young girl begs for people to buy lottery tickets for just pennies, only to be shooed away by a store owner; a boy stands anxiously by a street food stall holding an old tin coffee can,
waiting for eaters to finish their soup - he pours the leftovers into the can to share with his little sister, who is resting nearby. The undeniable poverty becomes a reality for these visitors, and each person who accompanies Tu Chung and Toan returns with a renewed determination to help. Eventually, over the years, Abandoned Little Angels arose from that renewed determination and purpose.
For more than 25 years, Tu Chung, Toan Nguyen, and their friends and family have worked tirelessly to raise money to help the neglected children of Vietnam and created the organization Abandoned Little Angels for this purpose.
Today, Abandoned Little Angels distributes more than $200,000 annually to 30 different centers, including orphanages for children with unstable homes, educational centers for disabled children, and other centers that assist in vocational training for impoverished children. Additionally, Abandoned Little Angels has also recently begun to fundraise for local organizations that help underprivileged children and has distributed over $20,000 to Houston. Mother Teresa of Calcutta said that “the poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty.” Through Abandoned Little Angels, we strive each day to alleviate that “greatest poverty.” We sincerely hope that you will join us in our journey - together, we can give these children hope for a brighter future.