Our first trip to Vietnam was in 1993, during the process of sponsoring Thanh Duong Boyer’s family to the US. It was a fantastic experience but it is a very poor country. One of the most disturbing things to me was the street children. On our very first night in Saigon, we literally had to step over a boy passed out at the door of our hotel. We helped him a little the next day, but there were so many it was overwhelming.
It’s even worse for the handicapped ones, I remember a kid with mangled legs crawling around on an overloaded ferry deck. People had dropped worthless paper money into a plastic bowl he dragged around. A wave washed over the deck, soaking him and scattering the money. Some people saved a few of the bills with their feet, going back to their conversations as he wiggled between their legs, pulling the wet bills from underneath shoes. It was amazing how quickly these kids become an ignored backdrop of the city, even for us, like the litter and endless sounds of motorcycle engines and horns.
But thankfully some people can’t ignore them; we recently had the honor of meeting the director of Abandoned Little Angels ‐ (in Vietnamese Nhóm Tình Thương). The mission of this charity is to help handicapped orphans in Vietnam. Thanh and I don’t give to large charities because of the overhead and waste involved. But it can be difficult to find a trustworthy small organization. One thing that struck me is that even the director and her husband use their own money to travel to fundraising events and to Vietnam. The amounts people give actually go directly to the kids. We have family involvement in this, Thanh’s sister Thu Duong helped organize a fundraiser in Huntsville recently. And my in‐laws will be visiting the orphanage in a couple of months.
If you are looking for a way to help others, I can wholeheartedly recommended supporting this charity. It’s mostly Vietnamese helping so we need more Americans involved. Remember it is a poor country so even a modest donation helps a great deal, and if you are a government employee you can give through your paycheck via CFC #12462.
You can also help by sharing this with others to spread the word. “Feel free to contact me John Boyer (search johnboyerjr) via Facebook if you have any questions.”