There are two types of works for volunteers
-Caring (caregiving) for abandoned children
-Caring for disabled children
There is not a limited number of volunteers for caring due to the heavy work. For non-disabled children caring, maximum of 4 volunteers can work at this room. For caring for disabled children, there are usually 2-8 volunteers working with children. Volunteers need to check with the hosting organization in advance to see if the project is still available.
Volunteers will stay in a dormitory, sharing rooms with volunteers of other nationalities joining the volunteering work. Normally, rooms are arranged with about 2-5 volunteers per room. In the busy time, the number can be maximum 7 or 9 volunteers per room in five bunk beds. Western toilets and hot showers are available.
Breakfast, lunch & dinner are either self-cooked or provided. Food is local style. The main types of food will be rice, meat, fish and vegetables. For vegetarians the choice is usually limited to rice, bread, vegetables, egg & tofu. Volunteers are free to use the kitchen for self-cooking.
Go Vap district, Ho Chi Minh city (or Sai Gon- Southern part of Vietnam). One culture exchange day, self-organized city tour or excursion, etc.
Ky Quang Pagoda was built in the early part of the 20th Century in 1924 and is relatively famous in Ho Chi Minh City. The pagoda is now a place of charity for unlucky children and a traditional medicine clinic for local residents. The Pagoda Orphanage was founded and is run by the ‘Bonze Thich Thien Nhan’. It has 35 staff members who stay at the Pagoda to take care and bring up these orphans. The operation funding mainly comes from local benefactors, social organizations and international volunteers and visitors. The children here have unfortunate backgrounds; many have been abandoned by their parents and relatives, babies are often found at the front gate of the pagoda and then taken in. Sometimes, the head monk receives phone calls from hospitals requesting him to take in deserted babies amongst other situations. At the moment, about 100 children and adults are living in the Pagoda, their ages ranging from 5 days old to 40 years old. There is a day care-room that includes 35 disabled children at this moment suffering in particular from cerebral palsy, blindness or Down’s syndrome. Here, they are fed with lunch and dinner, played and interacted with, sleep and receive some therapy during the day. In the evening and night, they sleep in different rooms with other abandoned children with a mother figure who looks after them.
– At present, about 30-40 local children have a chance to study at Ky Quang as some local teachers teach Vietnamese for them in the morning.
There are two main possible activities for volunteers:
– Play with 30 children in the kindergarten (3 to 8 years old)
– Give physical therapy to 35 disabled children (of different ages).
The children here have very various backgrounds. Some are physically or mentally disabled, some are blind or suffer from Down Syndrome, some are Agent Orange victims during the Vietnam War, some are orphans, and the others come from poor
families who cannot afford to bring them up.
Interest and motivation working with children in a difficult situation