Van Lang University brought Tet to connect the community

(VLU, 16/01/2020) - Small gifts containing a lot of love and sharing from the staff and lecturers of Van Lang education system were sent to less fortunate circumstances at Thien Phuoc orphanage and Thien An Shelter in the charity trip “Joining hands for the community” on January 15, 2020.

"Lucky" children at Thien Phuoc orphanage

(140 Do Dang Tuyen, Hamlet Lot 6, An Nhon Tay Commune, Cu Chi District, HCMC)

At 6:30 am, our group departed from Campus 3 of Van Lang University, bringing gifts that were carefully prepared by everyone in the University.

VLU CTCD 1Our group in Van Lang University's charity trip - "Joining hands for the community" in early 2020

More than 1 hour moving out of the city center, we arrived at Thien Phuoc Orphanage - Cu Chi district, where children with congenital malformations, epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and Down are raised,… Welcoming us were the faces of the children at the orphanage who were innocent, naive, but extremely emotional.

VLU CTCD 2Just getting off the bus, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu - Rector of Van Lang University was hugged by the children and led into the orphanage.

After arranging the gifts that were prepared in advance, including clothes, milk,... and some jams for the children to enjoy on Tet holidays, we met and talked with Sister Chi who has always stayed at the home for many years to take care of the children. Expressing her happiness to meet us, she invited everyone to sit, then she talked about the children living in the orphanage with happiness sparkling on her face like a real mother telling about her children. Her joy is seeing the children happy and healthy day by day, no longer in pain and having enough money for 3 meals a day.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu – Rector of Van Lang University who is also the initiator of the program “Joining hands for the community” in the emulation group 23 (including 7 universities: Saigon Technology University, Van Lang University, Hoa Sen University, Nguyen Tat Thanh University, Hutech, Huflit, Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University) was touched when Sister Chi told about the children and their struggles. Not knowing what to say more, she just wished that the nuns would have a lot of health, always keep their enthusiasm and tolerance so that the children could have their mothers to take care of them.

VLU CTCD 38The lecturers asked about the health of the children and nuns at Thien Phuoc orphanage.

Among about 60 children at Thien Phuoc orphanage, more than half of them are unable to walk and live on their own, all daily activities from eating, bathing, and cleaning are supported by the nuns. Looking at these small, thin and weak children but carrying a lot of pain and illness, our hearts were heavy. The only thing that makes everyone feel warm is the devotion that the nuns give to them.

VLU CTCD 11The second floor of Thien Phuoc's orphanage is a place to take care of children with polio who cannot do normal activities on their own.

VLU CTCD 14The boy Vu felt sad when the members of the group did not care about him.

In the yard of the orphanage, the Spring Volunteers of Van Lang University and the lecturers of the other universities played with the children who were in better health and could walk normally. The students used music to connect, share, and make them laugh.

VLU CTCD 17The Spring Volunteers cheered up when the children showed their amazing singing ability

Just before lunch time, the children were called in by the nuns. Some of them were able to feed themselves, but most of them had to be fed by the nuns. Seeing that, each person of us gave a hand to help the nuns, so the lunch time was completed faster than usual. 

VLU CTCD 4Everyone in the volunteer group helped the nuns feed the children at Thien Phuoc Orphanage for lunch.

VLU CTCD 19After lunch time, it was the time when our group had to leave, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu, on behalf of Van Lang University and Pham Ngoc Thach Medical University, and Saigon Technology University sent 30 million VND to the orphanage so that the Sisters could have more conditions to take care of the children.

VLU CTCD 3At Thien Phuoc orphanage, the children were very happy when being visited because they could play and talk comfortably.

VLU CTCD 5The Van Lang University students played with the children to temporarily forget the pain of illness

VLU CTCD 20The pictures of the children at Thien Phuoc orphanage were taken by the Sisters as souvenirs

Thien An Shelter - the refuge of lonely old people

93/6, 8th Street, 5th Quarter, Tam Phu Ward, Thu Duc District, HCMC

After a quick lunch, we continued to look for another shelter in Thu Duc District - HCMC. They are also less fortunate people carrying many diseases, but Thien An Shelter is a place to take care of and nurture more than 100 elderly women with lonely lives.

As soon as she entered the gate, Seur Bich - Vice President of the shelter greeted us and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu. Meeting again after a year, she gave special thanks to Van Lang University for remembering the shelter during the busy year-end days.

VLU CTCD 22The meeting of the volunteer group belonging to the emulation group 23 and the elderly people of Thien An Shelter took place in a small but warm and joyful room.

Thien An Shelter is often called the home of people from everywhere in Viet Nam where the elderly from the North to the South were taken care of. These people have no relatives, no home. Even some used to collect bottles, sell lottery tickets, beg, etc. At night, they slept on the sidewalk or in the park, until they could no longer earn a living, they went to the shelter to rely on the Sisters to take care of them.

VLU CTCD 26The bright smiles of the old women at Thien An Shelter when meeting the volunteer group

VLU CTCD 23The big surprise was when the old women performed a few cute dances that they had choreographed themselves. Everyone smiled happily as if forgetting the difficulties of everyday life.

On behalf of the whole delegation, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu - Rector of Van Lang University thanked the Sisters of Thien An Shelter for taking care of the elderly with all their heart, hoping that the elderly will always keep their optimism and health to enjoy life everyday.

In order to help the elderly have more joy and excitement the upcoming Tet holidays, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu - Rector of Van Lang University on behalf of the delegation sent to the shelter many gifts of clothes, milk, necessities and 10 million VND, each person was blessed with a lucky money envelope of 200,000 VND.

VLU CTCD 29Van Lang University donated 10 million VND to Thien An shelter - Thu Duc District, Ho Chi Minh City

VLU CTCD 34Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tran Thi My Dieu - Rector of Van Lang University went to the room of elderly women who were unable to walk to celebrate their age.

VLU CTCD 32Happy smiles of the old women at Thien An Shelter when receiving lucky money for the New Year of the Rat 2020

VLU CTCD 33The students of Van Lang University accompanied the old woman to her room after the meeting with the volunteer group

VLU CTCD 27Talking and asking about their health is a way to make the elderly forget about illness and diseases and enjoy life every day

Late in the afternoon, it was time for us to go home. On the way back, we all had an indescribable feeling, both sad but also happy. We were sad because we felt sorry for many unfortunate lives, but we were happy because our society still had so many kind and benevolent people to help those in need.

A trip at the beginning of the year by Van Lang University and other universities in the Emulation Group 23 helped us to feel the different meanings of Spring when we put ourselves next to everyone and empathized more with others in the community.

VLU CTCD 36The Emulation Group 23 volunteered to take pictures with the nuns and the elderly before saying goodbye to Thien An Shelter.

Hoàng Luân

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