Families with children adopted from the An Hoa Social Caring Center in Hue are committed to supporting 20 children currently attending a comprehensive day program at the Center. The program began in 2007 by the Alliance for Children Foundation (AFCF). Last year, the AFCF and the adoptive families raised enough funds to continue the program through 2011 and expanded it to include medical insurance and health care for the children. As the AFCF was recently granted a renewal of its humanitarian aid license for two more years by the Vietnamese government, we are seeking $36,000 to keep this vital program running in 2012 and 2013.
We need your help.
About the Program
A comprehensive day program offers nurturing care, life skills, education, socialization and daily, nutritious meals to impoverished and vulnerable children. The 20 children enrolled in the program are 6 to 16 years old with special needs such as autism, mental retardation, and Down's syndrome. The program runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and is staffed by three teachers. The teachers provide loving and compassionate care to the children to help them reach their full potential, educational instruction and teach the children how to care for themselves and interact appropriately with others. In addition to helping the children, the program serves as respite to families who must work during the day to survive, and supports families in remaining together. Former Alliance for Children staff residing in Vietnam monitor the program closely to ensure its success.
In a country like Vietnam that lacks an infrastructure for addressing developmental disabilities and special needs, the children at An Hoa and their families are part of a unique and special community. The children are learning to plant and tend to a garden as well as prepare and serve meals. They and their families are invited to the Center to celebrate important milestones, like birthdays and cultural festivities. The children are nurtured and visible in the community – rather than left alone and unsupervised while their parents struggle to work and feed their families.
As one measure of success, four children who made significant strides at the An Hoa Center from 2007 to 2011 recently transferred to mainstream educational programs in Hue. Two children, Nguyen and Long, 9 and 11 years old, both with Down's syndrome are now enrolled at the state-run Thuan Thanh Primary School in Hue City. One deaf boy, Huy, a 16-year-old who draws and paints beautifully, has started at a fine arts carpentry program to learn the intricate skills of decorative wood engraving. Another adolescent boy, Tien with autism has started at a vocational training program to learn motorcycle and bicycle repair. The program coordinator in Vietnam, An writes, "We do believe these four will keep pace with other kids at their new surroundings. We are happy and very proud that these children 'graduated' to integrate into the mainstream community. This also opens more opportunities for other special needs children in Hue to join in our classes at An Hoa Social Caring Center." Almost immediately, four new children with special needs filled the graduating students' slots at the Center.
In 2010-2011, the program budget was expanded to include medical insurance and health check-ups for all 20 children, which cost a total of $1,224 for the entire year! The benefits of this access to vital health care were significant in alleviating the children's symptoms from infectious and respiratory diseases, and widespread dental caries. The children's families are grateful and called the medical insurance "A Big Gift!" We truly hope we can continue to offer this service next year. Dr. Triet, Pediatrician at the "Early Childhood Development General Practice" of the An Hoa Health Care Clinic provided health exams for all 20 children twice per month. Dr. Triet offered regular consultation to the Center staff and teachers on the many hygiene, nutrition and feeding issues facing the children.
View photos of the program to see both tangible and intangible results of your love and support