Success Stories

Success Stories

Abandoned Little Angels has brightened the lives of disadvantaged children as a charitable organization for 15 years. These stories speak to the positive impact your support has on real people. Do you have a story to share? Please, tell us your story.
In January 2008, I had the privilege of accompanying Anh Chi Tu Chung, founders of the Houston-based charity Abandoned Little Angel (ALA), on their visit to the many institutions they help in Vietnam. ALA was set up to help the needy children of Vietnam: poor children, physically and mentally handicapped children, orphaned children, children of people suffering from leprosy, and the children of the minority people. I am very new to Vietnam and these visits allowed me to see what are the needs in the country and how we can do something to answer them. There is no shortage of needs in Vietnam and this is Anh Chi’s response to these needs, acting out of a spirit of human generosity and of Christian charity.

 

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On the first day I spent with the group, we visited seven different orphanages in Saigon City. The orphanages are run by either Catholic sisters or Buddhist sisters and brothers. In each of the orphanages, the ALA presented sacks of rice, boxes of noodles, individual boxes of goodies for each child, and an amount of cash. It is a very generous gift and is a big help to each orphanages, which receives no government aid and is completely dependent on donations. On this one day alone, we met almost 1,000 children; there are many other orphanages in the city, run by church groups, aid agencies, and by the government. There is no single explanation as to why there are so many children in need and so many abandoned children in Vietnam, but the underlying cause has to be the widespread poverty in the country, low salaries, and widespread unemployment.

 

Despite their situation, most of the children in the orphanages seem to be happy. The standard of care is good with full time and part time staff and volunteers who take care of the children and show them love. Like all children, they are loving and need to be loved; some are outgoing, some are shy, but their needs are the same. A number of images from that day remain with me in a special way; the first is of the severely mentally handicapped children: all that can be done for them is to care for them and to love them, that in some way they may realize that God loves them. The second image comes from a school for the blind run by the Congregation of Don Bosco, the Salesians. At the school, the students have their own band and played and sang for us; despite their disability, they were happy and are receiving training to enable them to work and be independent when they leave the school. The director of the school is a Salesian brother who is himself blind. Another image comes from the very big orphanages run by Buddhist monks; there are 240 kids there, boys and girls of every age, some with disabilities. A group of Catholic girls, who are blind, have their own dormitory and are encouraged by the monks to go to church every Sunday.

 

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Two days later, we set off for our visit to the central areas of the country. On the first day, we stopped at Loc Phat to visit a center for deaf and dumb children run by Sisters. The children were very lively and intelligent and anxious to communicate by sign language and by writing. Not far from there we stopped at a kindergarten school run by the Queen of Peace Sisters for the
children of Minority people. This was my first encounter with the Minority or ethnic people of the country.

 

There are over fifty different ethnic groups and they live mostly in the mountainous and forested areas of the country. They do not always see the benefit of education Father Pat Palmer known Fr Phan Bá Thông visit 3 handicapped children Cha Pat Palmer giúp đem qùa cho các em mồ côi người dân tộc Sedan, Kontumbut in the modern word they cannot do without it. They have always tended to keep to themselves and are among the poorest people in the country. The children are shyer than the other children we have visited. They have their own language and often do not speak Vietnamese well; also they are not used to seeing foreigners.

 

We spent the next day in Da Lat the very attractive town situated in the middle of hills and forests. Our first visit was to a small center for blind boys run by the Holy Cross Sisters; the house itself is very simple and quite poor. The Salesians have a big seminary in Da Lat and run a program for street kids and for blind boys. About 60 street kids, those who live on the street and earn a living by begging and by small trading, come to the seminary for two hours every day to learn reading and writing. The Salesians try to give them some training in a trade which might help them in the future. These really are the abandoned ones, without family or home; they depend on each other.

 

After a number of other stops we set off through the mountains visiting centers for the Minority people. One center we visited is run by two Salesians and trains girls in traditional weaving methods. This is farming country, coffee growing area at first and then corn and bananas and rice in the lowlands. Housing is very simple but there seems to be electricity everywhere. We arrived in the town of Buon Ma Thuot that evening. Our first visit was to a school run by Sisters for the children of lepers; the children themselves do no have leprosy but their families have to live in a special part of the town. There are over 200 kids there and they are very poor. Their families who have been affected by leprosy live very poor and cut-off lives. Another school caters for kids who are deaf and dumb or blind; some have all three disabilities. The children make great efforts to communicate; they have their own band which played for us.

 

The next day brought us to the town of Pleiku where we visited a school for Minority girls and a large kindergarten run by Sisters of St. Paul of Chartres. There are 300 children here, 180 from Minority groups; some of the children are seriously mentally handicapped. This is a particularly poor part of the country and the different institutions need all the help they can get. From here
we went to Kon Tum where we visited a number of centers looking after many children from the Minority people. Many of the Sisters looking after the children are themselves from the Minority people. In Dac Ruong a small Vincentian community serves the local Minority people. ALA donated money for the computers to help train local young people. That evening we ended up in Da Nang where I said goodbye to the group who would continue the journey for another week as far as Hanoi.

 

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The week I spent with the “Abandoned Little Angels” group gave me an experience of what their work is about and what a voluntary group can do to help others. Every center and school we visited received some practical help from ALA; the practical help is very important and it all comes from fund-raising work in the US, particularly among the expatriate Vietnamese community. But ALA also brings more: it brings a genuine love and concern for these children, and an interest in them; many of them really are the abandoned people of our world, people who are forgotten and not important in many people’s eyes. ALA witnessed to the Christian belief that all people are loved by God and are equally important in His eyes. I would encourage everyone to support the “Abandoned Little Angels” charity which is doing so much to help the suffering children of Vietnam.

 

Fr. Pat Palmer, CSSp
Cha Phan Ba Thong, CSSp
January 2008

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.

 

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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.”

 

Thanks,
John

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Abandoned Little Angels (ALA) has helped K’Minh with his education by paying for his school tuition since he was 4 years old. We are extremely proud to continue to support him as he becomes the first of our students to go to medical school! Saigon Medical School is one of the most prestigious and oldest medical schools in Vietnam. His family is part of an ethic minority, the Koho, one of the poorest of Vietnam’s indigenous peoples. Traditionally slash-and burn farmers, the Koho settled in the southern part of the fertile Central Highlands area of Vietnam centuries ago, in what is now the modern city of Dalat — a former French colonial outpost. K’Minh and his family receive no help towards education from the government or from any source other than ALA. There is no free education for even the poorest in Vietnam. ALA’s efforts with providing financial support to educate students like K’minh can finally help break the cycle of poverty in their families by ensuring new and better opportunities for their children.

 

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Below is a translation of K’Minh’s letter to ALA upon receiving his scholarship:

 

Dear Benefactors,

 

My name is K’Minh and I am an ethnic of Koho in Gia Hiep near Dalat mountainous region in Vietnam. I am currently a student at Saigon Medical School.

 

First of all, I would like to send my greeting, love and wishes of peace, health and happiness to you. On July 2015, I received $750 to pay for my tuition. Your generous support motivates me to do the best that I can to achieve good grades in school and not to disappoint your trust. Your generosity itself is an effective medicine in reducing anxiety and stress for me and my family.

 

Every year, my concern is not about traveling far away from home and the arduous study. I worry about my mother for all the enduring sacrifices that she makes for me and my siblings. My family grows coffee and make and annual income of $1,200. Therefore, we are always in debt.

 

Abandoned Little Angels had supported my education in paying for the tuition since I was 4 year old. Education is not free in Vietnam, and without your support I would never have this opportunity.

 

I plan to return to my village as a doctor to help my community and I sincerely thank you for making my dream a reality.

My first trip to Vietnam was with Abandoned Little Angels this past summer of 2015 and I can tell you that it won’t be my last! Once I got to meet the children at the orphanages and their caretakers my heart was immediately blown away! Here we are living comfortably in our clean clothes and AC blasting through our hair…of course it’s easy for us to take the little things for granted.

 

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It’s not easy for me to see their living condition or even a child covered in mosquito bites, while my daily struggles here don’t compare to theirs. To have the opportunity to bond with these children and see them carry on with their beaming, bright happy faces despite their trying times and circumstances, changed me! Changed me for the better!

 

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Their positive energy lit up the entire room and brought smiles to everyone’s faces and suddenly I found myself fighting back tears of joy. Joy? You ask? Well, I was reminded that life is really what you make of it. That every day is a gift! And this gift, these children do NOT take for granted! These children are happy because they are in the present!

 

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They are immensely grateful for their caretakers’ devotion to them. They are grateful for their teachers who inspires and encourages them to strive for greatness. Grateful for their friends who they can bond with within the orphanage. And incredibly grateful for having visitors come by to visit them.

 

The children showed a tremendous amount of appreciation when we visited, and I absolutely loved every bit of it, even their cute costumes they put together to showcase during their performance to welcome us.

 

Some were unabashed to sing me a song in Vietnamese and even an English song upon my request. Plenty of them picked up quickly on taking selfies and taught me some silly poses. It was all in the name of fun. Some older kids kindly gave me a thorough tour of their classrooms and the rooms where they sleep.

 

I am grateful to have met the wonderful people of Abandoned Little Angels and to have this unforgettable, heartwarming experience. The main takeaway for me from this whole experience was seeing how genuinely happy these children are and the respect and love they have for their caretakers. Honestly, that’s what made me most emotional. That’s why they call it tears of joy. The smiles on these children’s faces are sustained by the support of Abandoned Little Angels.

 

Abandoned Little Angels’ mission and generous donors & supporters truly makes it all possible for these children’s care-takers & teachers to provide the children the resources and care they need to survive and an opportunity to be someone through unconditional love & education.

 

 

Những dòng tâm sự

 

Chuyến đi đầu tiên của tôi đến Việt Nam với Abandoned Lillte Angels vào mùa hè vừa qua, 2015, và tôi có thể nói với bạn rằng đó không phải là chuyến đi lần cuối cũng của tôi. Khi tôi đến gặp các em ở trại mô côi và những người Chăm sóc các em, tim tôi ngay lập tức ngừng đập. Chúng ta sống quá thoải mái và tiện nghi, cho nên chúng ta dễ dàng quên lãng những

 

Thật không dễ dàng chút nào khi thấy họ sống trong môi trường thiếu thốn và bị muỗi cắn vây quanh. So sánh với những khó khăn của tôi hằng ngày thì chẳng là gì cả so với cuộc sống của họ ở đây. Có được cơ hội ở bên các em mồ côi và thấy được những nụ cười hạnh phúc trong môi trường sống thiếu thốn đó, đã thay đổi tôi, thay đổi tôi cho tốt hơn

 

Những niềm vui và năng động của các em đã tỏa sáng căn phòng và mang đến nụ cười cho mọi người. Đột nhiên tôi không cầm được những giọt nước mắt của niềm vui. Vâng, Đó là niềm vui và đã nhắc nhỡ tôi cuộc sống thật sự là những gì do mình cố gắng tạo ra, và mỗi ngày là một món quà. Và món quà hôm nay là những đứa bé vui vẽ và hạnh phúc này .

 

Các em đang vô cùng cảm ơn những người đang nuôi dưỡng các em. Biết ơn những Thầy cô giáo đã và đang dạy dổ các em mỗi ngày. Các em cám ơn những người bạn cùng chung cảnh ngộ trong trại mô côi với các em và những ân nhân đã đến thăm các em mỗi khi có dip.

 

Các em đã cho tôi thấy được sự mang ơn của các em mỗi khi có các ân nhân đến thăm. Tôi rất yêu thích những lúc ở bên các em. Những điệu múa chào đón chúng tôi trong những bộ trang phục rất dễ thương của các em.

 

Có những em không ngại ngần hát những bài tiếng Việt và tiếng Anh theo yêu cầu của chúng tôi. Rất nhiều trong số các em đã nhanh chóng học cách selfie và chỉ tôi những độc tác trẻ còn thật là vui. Có những em lớn hơn thì đưa tôi đi thăm những phòng học và nơi ngủ của các em.

 

Tôi thật sự biết ơn vì đã gặp những người tuyệt vời của Abandoned Little Angels và không thể nào quên những trải nghiệm này

 

Điều quan trọng của cuộc trãi nghiệm này đối với tôi là thấy được những gương mặt hành phúc của các em mô côi, và sự tôn trọng và thương yêu của các em dành cho những người Chăm sóc các em. Và điều quan trọng hơn là Abandoned Little Angles đã và đang cố giữ để đem lại những nụ cười và niềm vui trên gương mặt các em.

 

Sứ mệnh của Abandoned Little Angels và sự thương mến của các ân nhân thật sự đã đem lại niềm tiin cho các trẻ mồ côi và những người nuôi nâng và dạy dổ các em, để mai sau các em có cuộc sống tốt .

Dear Benefactors of The Abandoned Little Angels,

 

My name is K’Du Net, and I am currently a third year medical student at Saigon Medical School. I have met Dr. Lucy Nguyen and am so grateful for the scholarship of $750 which I received from Abandoned Little Angels. During the past 3 years, the scholarship has helped me pay for my tuition.

 

Since I was four years old, the sisters from Mary Queen Order have taught me and many other children with the financial support of Abandoned Little Angels. Our families have limited means and our education could not be possible without your help. The enthusiastic help of the sisters in my village is profoundly, both emotionally and spiritually. The sisters have taught the children in our entire village and paved the way for my education, and inspired my dreams. I have dreams not only to improve my life but also to be helpful to my family and be a productive member of society.

 

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Like many ethnic minorities, my family faces many struggles while trying to care and provide for their children. Many times they had to take on many debts to help pay for basic living expenses and education costs for 6 children from first grade to college. The $750 scholarship has eased my parent’s burden tremendously and I am extremely grateful to Abandoned Little Angels for the help we have received over the last 20 years.

 

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After my brief encounter with Dr. Lucy, I realized the importance of perseverance and faith. Even though I was not born into a family of means and wealth, great things are possible if I work hard and believe. The love and kindness that Dr. Lucy and Abandoned Little Angels have shown has also taught me the importance of giving back to those that are less fortunate. Not only do I want to give back to my family, but I would also like to be of service to those in my community.

 

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Without your help, I would never have made it this far. I would like to ask for your continued support of me and my siblings so that they, as well as I, can have a better future. I sincerely thank Abandoned Little Angels and wish you all good health, happiness, and peace in the Lord.

Blue Ribbon Award

logo-bestin-largeAbandoned Little Angels (ALA) is proud to be the recipient of the Blue Ribbon Award for being one of the best independent charities in America since 2009.

 

To achieve this award, our organization has implemented sufficient controls by having an annual independent audit conducted by a Certified Public Accountant, and has maintained a low administrative cost of 2.6%.

 

Abandoned Little Angels, by annually demonstrating highest standards of public accountability, program effectiveness, and cost effectiveness has been awarded the Best in America Seal of Excellence.

 

With this award, ALA qualifies to be part of the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) – the largest workplace charity campaign in the United States, and the only campaign authorized to solicit and collect contributions from federal employees in the workplace on behalf of charitable organizations.

 

Through this award, our organization has attracted many supporters nationwide. Our largest supporter group is from Huntsville, Alabama, who annually raises funds for the children and even visits the schools and orphanages in Vietnam.