The Happiest Boy in Vietnam

Sang always wears a smile!  The smallest benefit or blessing brings a wide, toothy grin to his face.  Not so remarkable, you say.  But it is remarkable when you know that Sang suffers from cerebral palsy–cerebral palsy that was largely unattended to while he grew up.

Sang’s family brought him to Orphan Voice’s Phu Ninh Therapy Center in February 2012.  At that time, he could not walk unassisted.  His life, up to that point, had consisted mostly of him lying in bed all day. His parents had no choice but to leave him there, because they both worked away from home all day.

After coming to the Center, Sang worked hard.  Another boy, who had gained the ability to walk, greatly encouraged Sang and even gave him his walker.  He would shout: “You can do it; you can do it!”  And, with the therapists’ help, he made progress.  It was a day of rejoicing when Sang walked on his own.  His smile lit the room that day!

But just a few months later, in October, Sang contracted dengue fever–common in Vietnam.  As a result, he regressed physically. He lost the ability to walk and for several months was bed-fast again. He eventually regained enough strength to return to the Center.

It was a day of rejoicing when Sang regained the ability to walk!  Please watch this short video clip to see who we think is the happiest boy in Vietnam!

To help other children like Sang, who receive therapy at Orphan Voice’s Therapy Center, click here and choose Special Needs.

A Future and a Hope (Ny’s Story)

 “When my dad died, my mom could not keep our large family together. I know that she loved me, but the problems in her life forced her to send me to a countryside orphanage. I was 12.

Separated from my family, I did okay at the orphanage, but I missed my mom and family.  I adjusted and made friends over time, but I always felt empty on the inside.  I didn’t do well at school, but the other kids didn’t do any better.

I lived at the orphanage for several years, and as I got closer to high school graduation, I worried.  The orphanage director told me that I had to leave after graduation.  Where would I go? Who would take care of me? I worried a lot.

Then one day, I heard about a place called Victory House.  I knew a girl there. She said that Orphan Voice gave her a nice place to live with a kind lady to cook for all the girls.  They paid for everyone’s school and Hanh, the housemother, acted like a mom to everyone. Oh, how I wanted to go there!  I asked my orphanage director about it.  He made application for me and I was accepted!

Now, almost three years later, I will soon graduate with a Tourism degree! I will get a good job!  It was hard.  I had to be tutored a lot and Linh really made me work hard (sometimes I got mad at her).  But it was all worth it.

I am excited–and a little scared–about the future, but not like I used to be scared.  I know that I can make it.”
(Ny’s story told through Tony Brewer and factually true in all respects).

Thank you, Orphan Voice partners.  You do this every day!

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You Changed My Life!

Orphan Voice is given the holy privilege of helping orphans, special needs children and children-at-risk in Southeast Asia. We are sent to the poor, to the oppressed, to the least of these.  We’d rather be here than in a King’s court.

In our American experience, if one of our children is born with a cleft lip, “getting it fixed” happens almost automatically–even for the poor.  For the precious ones that we meet here, that surgery may not happen.  Due mainly to “outlook oppression,” caused by extreme poverty, superstitious beliefs,  no belief in a loving Father, and lack of hope, a child may not get to the hospital.  That increases the chances that the child will not live, but most live and adapt-and learn to live, to speak after a fashion and to eat.

Orphan Voice and its partners simultaneously attack the causes of “outlook oppression” AND help the family get to the hospital and have food while there, and pay the hospital and doctor-none of which the family can do without help.  All this lifts, encourages, elevates, and en-nobles children and their families.

This is what Orphan Voice partners are doing.  You are not only paying for “things.”  You are lifting people up on the inside to a happier, more joyful and better life.   Thank you on their behalf-until they can thank you personally.

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“We Are More Precious Than Gold”

 

 

 

 

 

Orphan Voice staff recently spoke to 600 students and 25 adults at Tran Phu Junior High School. With creative techniques and student-interaction, the anti-trafficking seminar, titled “More Precious Than Gold,” was a big hit!

One skit is about a girl who spends all of her time talking with friends online and playing internet games. After skipping school for three days, eating in her room and playing constantly, she owes the internet game shop 500.000 Vietnamese dollars. With no money to pay, she calls a loan shark (very common in Vietnam) and he comes to collect. Normally the girl would get money from her family to repay the loan, but when he arrives, he takes the girl to a Karoke Shop (sex trade) and sells her.

At various times during the seminar, we have the kids shout: “We are more precious than gold!”  The kids are excited–very excited. They don’t usually see an American, and that is some of the novelty, but Orphan Voice Vietnamese staffers really share in an interesting, informative way. We also review the information and give a prize to students who can remember.

“This is new. It is good for the students because they can protect themselves,” one teacher remarked. Another teacher asked for a copy of the material to go over with her class later.

Each student gets a pen with “More Precious Than Gold” written on it. They love it.

 

From Singapore With Love

Dr. Caleb Ho led a team of enthusiastic medical students to Danang to minister to the poor and to “the least of these.” Dr. Ho’s team personified “giving.”

First, they gave their time. The team worked long, hard hours–seeing 455 patients! They gave their money–buying all needed medicine. And they gave their talents–teaching good hygiene practices through creative skits and song to 1200 junior high students. One would hardly believe it possible to accomplish all they accomplished during the week. But I saw it. They are givers!

And other Singaporeans in Danang “caught” their same giving spirit! At lunch one day, Dr. Ho met Mr. James Wong of the Oriental Shipping and Logistics Company. Oriental Shipping and Logistics works worldwide and has offices in Singapore, China and Vietnam. When Mr. Wong learned of Dr. Ho’s mission, he immediately arranged for a company donation to orphans and to the poor.

Orphan Voice’s office was soon flooded with rice, cooking oil, soy sauce, eggs, pork, fish, and other food–worth about $1,000.00!

Thanks Singapore!

Out of the Rain

I was driving home on my motorbike Saturday in the blinding rain–covered as best I could be with protective rain gear. It is rainy season here. On the sidewalk, halfway across the Hanh Bridge, I came upon an older women, probably 80, with a very thin plastic smock on, for protection, along with the traditional, rice straw conical hat. Despite her best efforts, she was wet. Why was she there? She is a banana saleswomen and they usually stay out even in rain unless they have sold all their goods. They don’t make much doing this and thus they have to stay out. After I passed her, the thought came (and kept coming) to me to go back, and buy what she had left, so that she could get out of the rain. I went back, communicated to her in broken Vietnamese what I wanted and bought all she had left–and a happier women I have not seen for some time.

Probably few of us are Mother Theresas. Certainly I am not. But no matter where we are in life, there is someone in our day that we can bless and help. Let’s look for that person today

 

A great Vietnamese anti-child trafficking advocate was tragically killed yesterday. Ngo Thi Loan will be greatly missed. May her successor fill her shoes as well.

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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Orphan Voice/DOLISSA Anti-trafficking Conference

 

Quang Nam Province Television recently reported on an Orphan Voice event.  On June 21, Orphan Voice and Quang Nam Province DOLISSA jointly sponsored an anti-trafficking conference in Tam Ky.  The conference was well attended by 50 provincial and district leaders of Quang Nam as well as friends of Orphan Voice visiting from the United States.  The day’s clear statement from Quang Nam officials to all those who would abuse children and women: “Not Here, Not Now!”

Here is the link to the news broadcast.

Painted Nails

This is Lan.  To you she might just look like an ordinary Vietnamese girl.  Let me assure that she is not.  She lives in Dai Loc orphanage. I have had the privilege of seeing her beautiful face once a week.
Recently when we went for our weekly visit to Dai Loc we took nail polish to let the girls paint their fingers and toes with.  Lan sat looking at all the choices she had and I motioned to her that I would paint for her if she wanted.  She smiled and nodded yes, immediately picking a color and getting a chair in front of me.  I held her sweaty hands and painted her nails a glittery silver.  On each nail, she payed close attention to make sure that they were perfect.  When I was done with her nails, I motioned to her feet.  She looked at me as if to say, ‘Are you sure?’  I smiled back and pulled her foot into my hand.  There is something to be said about holding someones foot.  It is intimate, a way of saying to that person that you care for them with abandon of all the walls that they might put up.  That is what I wanted Lan to know; that I didn’t care how dirty her foot was, I was going to make it pretty.  I was going to do something seemingly insignificant, but something that would make her walk around smiling at her feet.  So I sat there holding that dirty little foot, hoping that she would eventually be able to see the true beauty that was so tenderly used to create her. That every time she smiled at those nails, her spirit would realize what she was made for.  I believe that those painted nails can make all the difference. –Shea Poole, Orphan Voice volunteer