Grand Circle Foundation funds weather-resistant furniture for a Vietnamese orphanage
In 1987, two Buddhist nuns in the ancient Vietnamese capital city of Hué found a baby on their doorstep. It marked the beginning of their lifelong mission to take care of orphaned and abandoned children. The Minh Tu Orphanage at Duc Son Pagoda was founded in that city with just five children. Today, this rapidly growing, nonprofit institution is home to more than 200 children, ranging in age from one to 17. The orphanage is funded entirely by private donations. The Buddhist nuns who help the founders care for the children live below poverty level at the orphanage, rising at 3am for two hours of prayer before waking the children—many of whom are disabled—preparing them for the day, getting them off to school, and teaching additional classes afterward. In their spare time, they sometimes visit a nearby lepers' hospital, help local victims of natural disasters, and support people afflicted with HIV/AIDS.
The children's stories can be heartbreaking. Many have lost one or both parents to flooding, disease (especially HIV/AIDS), and the occupational hazards inherent in two important local industries: fishing and mining. Sometimes, they themselves are the victims of a war that ended more than 35 years ago. They or their parents may have been injured by landmines, which still remain buried from the 1960s. Others may have been affected by Agent Orange, a poisonous herbicide and defoliant used by American forces to destroy the jungles of Vietnam during the war. Food harvested from gardens with affected soil still has the power to harm the young.
Grand Circle Foundation is proud to have become a partner of the orphanage in 2002. From 2002 to 2011, we donated more than $30,000 to the organization, which offers the children food, shelter, education, and—most importantly—love and hope. We've helped to renovate the dining hall and to purchase computers, new washing machines, new bicycles, and milk powder. We've also purchased an organ for the orphanage so that the children can enjoy music lessons.
This year, the Foundation donated an additional $28,000 to provide the children with more comfortable sleeping arrangements. Tropical Hué is subject to high humidity and flooding during the rainy season, so Minh Tu Orphanage asked to replace the children's wooden bed frames and wardrobes with stainless-steel ones. Not only will the stainless-steel furniture provide a healthier place to sleep and help keep the children's belongings clean, it also will last much longer. The Foundation is pleased to help provide a better environment for the children of the Minh Tu Orphanage.
Featured in our June 2012 E-Newsletter. Read the full issue here.