A Call to Vietnam

Accomplishments of 13 years (2002 2015)


] Handicapped and orphaned children: Each year, funds raised at the annual A Call to Vietnam benefit dinner have supported the children in three centers;, children who are orphans, abandoned, or have multiple physical and developmental handicaps. The funds are used to meet the health care, nutrition and housing needs of these orphaned and handicapped children.


] Mountain families: In the remote valleys of the mountains in western Vietnam, along the border with Laos, families live without access to many basic necessities. Often marginalized and without means to make a living, the families have been grateful for the regular visits of Sisters/Lovers of the Holy Cross, who have assisted them financially to purchase basic necessities and have helped them organize to better support each other in times of need. Between 50 and 60 families, living in the areas of Cam Lo, Lang Vay, Ja-Rai, Mo-Oor and Dar-Krong have received help. Families in Khe Sanh are now living without dependence on this assistance.


] English Conversation Practice: Each summer, two Sisters of the Holy Names, sometimes with other volunteers, have come to Hu and to Ho Chi Minh City (District of Binh Loi) to help the Sisters/Lovers of the Holy Cross to practice English conversation. While two weeks in each location in the summer is not long, the Sisters have met with each other to maintain skills and have been able to use their English in some of their ministries, and to advance their own professional education.


] Centers for the Blind: Vietnam appears to have an unusually high incidence of blindness. Over the 10 years, funds from the A Call to Vietnam ministry have assisted the families of blind persons who have formed co-ops where partially-sighted and blind persons can come together to make and sell products, the proceeds from which are pooled and distributed to the members of the group. With the facilitation of theSisters/Lovers of the Holy Cross, Hu, the members themselves plan how funds will be used. Sighted family members assist by transporting their blind relatives to meetings and work centers and sales outlets. Two centers for the blind, in Gio Linh and in Trien Phong (Quang Tri region) have received funding for supplies to make products and for other needs. In one organization, about 600 families are members of the co-op.


] Scholarships: Each year, about 50 students have received scholarships enabling them to attend school. Generally about 20 elementary school students and 20 secondary school students receive $100/each and approximately 10 university students receive $200 for their college tuition. While there is not tuition for elementary school, there are expenses for uniforms, books and, in some schools, even utilities. Deserving students are identified and recommended by the Sisters/Lovers of the Holy Cross, Hu based on family circumstances and financial need. They must be interviewed and reports on their progress are given annually. If they do well, the scholarship monies continue until they finish school. In 10 years, 500 scholarships have been distributed! Those receiving scholarships come from Vung Tau, Nha Trang, Cam Ranh, Thua Thien, Quang Tri and Quang Binh.


] Pregnant Teens/Outreach to Elderly Widows: There is no social safety net in Vietnam, and women who become pregnant and women who lose their husbands and do not have children to support them are at risk. Over 10 years, funds from the A Call to Vietnam Ministry have helped with shelter, health care and food needs for 175 pregnant teens; about 120 elderly and destitute women have received funds for their needs.


] Vocation Development: Young women desiring to become Sisters in the LHC community but who cannot afford the education required to become a Sister are supported in their continuing studies. Approximately 100 deserving young women have received assistance over the 10 years.


] Special Projects: Sometimes there are special needs and A Call to Vietnam ministry tries to respond to them. Examples of supported special projects include: acquisition of wheelchairs; construction of two wells; provision of sewing machines for income generation; acquisition of musical instruments for blind students; construction of a pig sty; installation of a water purification systems.


] Volunteers: Besides the SNJM and lay volunteers who have come yearly in July to operate the English conversation program, seven volunteers have paid their own way to go to Vietnam and volunteer for several weeks each in the centers for the handicapped children.