Faces and Feet



When I saw the contrast between their faces and feet, I couldn’t help it.  “We will …. ”  But first, let me give you some background:

In Ha Giang Province, a mountainous region that borders China, neither homes nor schools have heat.  In response to a request from the Provincial Education Department, an Orphan Voice scout team visited the Province in the early winter. It was 29 degrees Farenheit on the morning of the team’s visit.  The Ha Giang economy is a semi-barter one, with many families trading vegetables, which they have grown, for their neighbor’s meat, which they have hunted or raised.

Secondary school children go to boarding schools located in larger towns, usually far away from the children’s villages. The deep, ragged valleys and lack of roads don’t permit easy travel.  As a result, the schools double as orphanages.  Kids visit their homes during the summer and school holidays.  The scout team investigated several facilities that day.

The children were cold. Most had runny noses. The scout team recommended to Orphan Voice’s central office that we provide winter coats immediately.  Thereafter, a second Orphan Voice team soon departed Hanoi with 350 good quality, heavy coats and some thermal pants.

That’s when I noticed the contrast between their faces and feet.  Their faces beamed with smiles, but most of their feet were wet, cold, and partially exposed to the weather.Their plastic slippers had an open, mesh pattern.  For many, the low temperatures caused the plastic to harden and crack–and the children’s feet were cut or rubbed raw–some with visible infection.  More from the heart than from the head, I immediately said: “We’ll return with good shoes and socks for all the children.”  We were able to do that!

Like me, look at those faces and look at those feet.  The picture here is representative of children living in the Highlands every winter.  We do have the opportunity to participate in His work to bless “the least of these.” $20 will purchase a good quality, winter coat and shoes.  To make a designated gift for shoes or a general donation, click here. 

Have You Ever Been Hungry?

A minister asked us recently how he might help his children understand what it’s like to not have enough food. “What can we do to help them understand?” he said. Our response was to share a Promise House story and challenge those children, and all of us, to put ourselves in their shoes, even just for a day.

Nghia, his sister and his older brother had precious little to eat when an Orphan Voice team visited.  For three people, there were two small fish and an amount of rice! Yes, this small amount of food was shared between them; and it was all they had for the entire day. They were always hungry.

So here is our challenge to you. Put yourself in their place. Attempt to eat only this much for one day. Even if you don’t use fish and rice, consider the amount of food they had (about 550 grams) and divide it among three people (about 6 ounces each). Could you live on this for a day? Well, probably once. But could you live on this amount per day every day?

Show the picture to your children. Better yet, cook the food and place it before them. Ask them to consider “What if this was all we had?”

Orphan Voice cares for children like Nghia every day, but only with your help.  Would you like to sponsor a child like Nghia?  To do so, click here!


Helping Vy – Your Gift Saves a Life

At only three months old, little Vy was struggling.  She was born with a serious heart condition: a ventricular septal defect–with the complication of severe pulmonary hypertension.  She was getting weaker and weaker and, we were told, would not live without successful surgery.

Some time ago, Vy’s dad left his rural (jobless) home and family to work at a garment factory in Saigon. He sent 1/3 of his $150 per month salary back to his wife in Quang Nam Province, so that she can feed Vy and her sister.  Fifty dollars per month is not enough–certainly not enough to allow the family to save money for Vy’s life-saving surgery.

Orphan Voice was able to help this family by providing funds to obtain the needed surgery. Vy is alive thanks to our partners!

Would you like to help us “be here” for others like Vy.  If so, click here to donate now!

Their Ship Has Come In

United States Sailors Bless Children

Sailors from the Destroyer USS Chung-Hoon and Navy Rescue Vessel, Salvor, recently completed a five day visit to Danang.  When not involved in maneuvers and training, the sailors took time to host 108 Danang orphans on a tour of their ships.  It was an awesome experience for the kids.  On the Chung-Hoon, they examined two on-board helicopters; sat in the commander’s chair on the bridge; peered through the ship’s telescopes (in their words: “big eyes”); and enjoyed home-baked chocolate chip cookies in the ship’s cafeteria! They loved the Salvor’s deep sea diving unit. They loved listening to the master diver (one of only 90 in the entire Navy) who was so proud of his work. They loved feeling the heavy chains and ropes used to rescue beached ships–and the machine shops with their lathes and welders. They loved the navigation room, filled with its gauges and maps.  All the while, they learned the importance of math and science.


Later in the week, the sailors hosted a birthday party for 50 children at Promise House.  Men and women representing American’s finest brought a large cake (baked on the ship), set up basketball and soccer goals and played games with the kids. The girls soon were braiding the female sailors’ hair and visa versa. They danced to One Direction’s song: That’s What Makes You Beautiful.

On the last day of their visit, the sailors delivered several soccer balls, basketballs, badminton sets, soccer goals, and corn hole sets–enough to bless children from several orphanages.   They left a “swell” (pun intended) of smiles behind them!   We met sailors from Illinois, California, New York, Missouri, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia and Iowa.  If you are an American, you were well represented by these young men and women of the United States Navy. If you live in one of the states mentioned above, you can be doubly proud.

Here is some feedback from the children about their ship tour:

“The uniforms are so beautiful!”

“Can I have another cookie?”  (The sailors ended the tour by funneling the kids through the ship’s dining area, where hot and tasty chocolate chip cookies, along with orange juice, awaited them!).

“Let me sit in the Captain’s chair!”

“I need to go to the bathroom!”

Sailors Inspired the Kids:
Study, Work Hard and Do Your Best…You’re On Your Way UP!

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Corporations Who Care!

The Oriental Shipping and Logistics Company, headquartered in Singapore, but with offices in Vietnam and Shanghai, recently donated 1,000.00 worth of food that blessed over 300 orphans in Kon Tum Province. Company officer Jimmy Wong said: “We will help give them a merry Christmas.” They sure did!

If your company would like to practice some “corporate philanthropy,”  email tony.brewer@orphanvoice.org. There can be significant tax advantages in doing so.

The Least of These

Thanks Orphan Voice supporters. I know that your day is busy and that you have many pressing responsibilities. But take a moment to appreciate how you have blessed, helped, encouraged and loved “the least of these.” These Highland orphanage children are not used to picking out a pair of nice, stylish shoes, nor have they had multiple choices from which to pick. They are used to cheap, uncomfortable hard, plastic sandals–that are just given to them with no prior thought given even to a preference in color.

What is the value of the bright smile of a teenage girl who has just put on the latest fashionable shoe, that fits her, and that she has picked out (has shopped for)? More importantly, what is behind that bright smile. It is an unspoken message that reaches the home of her heart that she is important and that she is loved. You did that! So take a moment in your perhaps difficult day to appreciate that you have changed the world in one’s child’s life.  Thank you.

To bless other children:

Child Anti-Sexual Abuse School Seminars

At the 5-Star resorts which clutter Danang’s pristine beaches, flights from Moscow and Beijing bring men to gamble, drink and party. Others join them from Japan, South Korea, Australia, Europe and America. Danang is becoming an international tourist destination–for good in many cases, but also for evil.

Poverty stricken teenage boys and girls growing up in neighboring Quang Nam Province are at risk for child sexual abuse and trafficking. But in an important joint effort, Orphan Voice and the Government of Quang Nam Province, which borders prosperous Danang, are saying: “Not here, not now!”

On August 24th, Orphan Voice trained 27 school administrators, teachers, school social workers and police on the warning signs and dangers of child sexual abuse and trafficking. Upon completion of the training, each of the 27 adults became members of the Orphan Voice/Quang Nam Province Anti-Child Trafficking Network. Each leader’s awareness of the issue is higher now, each leader is equipped to replicate the same seminar in his/her classroom or other forum, and each leader knows who to contact in case of discovered abuse/trafficking. We believe that this will help stop child-traffickers and abusers in their tracks!

Later that same day, Orphan Voice staff travelled to a junior-high school and presented the information again–with plenty of visual aids, stories, and prizes. In all, 450 students learned about the pitfalls, tricks and dangers posed by child traffickers and abusers. The school conference theme was “More Precious Than Gold.” And several times, OV trainers led the students in shouting: “I am more precious than gold!” OV is giving each student a new pen with those words engraved on it.

They shouted this truth: “I am more precious than gold!”   They sure are!

If you would like to help us present more anti-trafficking seminars, you can do so here. Thanks!

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No Walker Needed!

Two years ago, Duy could not walk.  But then Orphan Voice, through the generosity of its partners, began the Phu Ninh Therapy Center.  At the Center, children come to get therapy, and their parents come to learn how to provide therapy at home-as well as receive encouragement.  After several months of therapy, both at the Center and at home, Duy can walk. Here, he has just pushed his walker away! Later that day, Orphan Voice staff noticed Duy encouraging other children along in their walkers. Thanks Orphan Voice Donors!

To help us operate the Phu Ninh Therapy Center, make your donation here.  Thank you.

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Something to Smile About

When Dung’s mother was four months pregnant, many in her village contracted rubella. The child’s father tried to keep his wife healthy, but she too became ill. The father feared that his baby had been harmed by the sickness, but he didn’t express his fears. He felt that his parents and in-laws would push the couple to have an abortion, and he already loved his unborn child.

Dung was born with a cleft lip and palate. The condition of the lip and palate was so severe that Dung had difficulty feeding; she ingested just enough to keep her alive. After several days, the parents discovered that they could feed Dung using a soft tube. Using a homemade tube helps the child receive the necessary nutrition, but the process of feeding is far from easy. Dung’s parents continued with the tube for three months.

When government officials told Orphan Voice about Dung’s situation, we promised to help. Her parents expressed their deep gratitude and shared their hopes that Dung would one day have a beautiful smile.

In February, Orphan Voice workers transported Dung and her mother to a hospital in Hue, Vietnam. There, Dung underwent the first stage of the repair process. Thanks to the generosity of Orphan Voice partners, Dung’s lip has been fixed and an operation on her palate is in the works. Now that is something to smile about.

To provide a surgery such as this for other needy children, please donate here. Thanks!

Quality Down Time

I had the privilege of going to Dai Loc last Friday and what a blessed day it was. I had originally planned to go on Wednesday, which was a nice day, but Friday was amazing. The sun was shinning and the air was warm – which is a wonderful experience after days and days of rain, and a friend was able to come along with me. I was so looking forward to the experience and wasn’t disappointed.

It took us about 50 minutes to get to the orphanage and it was wonderful to see the kids. Most of them were still at school; between school and tutoring, the students are often working until 6pm or later at school. The children that were there we mostly older, and they aren’t always interested in what we’re doing, but today I had prepared for them. I had brought them some of their favorite fruits – green mangoes and pomelo (white grape fruit), to dip in chili salt.

I picked the movie Alvin and the Chipmunks for us to watch and we settled in. All of us sat and ate together, just the seven of us, with the caretakers peeking their heads in every once-in -a-while and taking a bit of the fruit to eat, too. It was really nice to catch up with them and see how their classes are going because they are often busy when I come to visit on Wednesdays.

After our snack and chat, we sat down to watch Alvin, and the kids really seemed to enjoy it. Of the five kids that were there that day, four of them stayed and watched the whole movie. I loved hearing them laugh and relax with me after such a long week of school. On the ride back to Da Nang, I just took my time enjoying sun and air and the whole day, and reflecting on the wonderful time I had just had with some great kids.