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Vietnam’s Children Fund (VCF) is an organization that raises funds and collects donations to rebuild schools for poverty stricken children in war torn areas. VCF was co-founded by actress Kieu Chinh, who is also a member of the organization’s board of directors, and journalist Terry Anderson, an American war correspondent.
Kieu Chinh has always paid attention to children and proper schooling. In 1993, she was the first and only Vietnamese to be invited to Washington, D.C. to commemorate the memory of 58,000 American soldiers who fell in Vietnam. In her speech, she said she had become a Vietnamese-born American citizen and was here to honour American soldiers who sacrificed their lives in her original homeland. Deep in her mind and heart, she couldn’t help but think of her Vietnamese compatriots who also fell.
“I wish someday I could do something to honour people who threw away their lives in that war. Particularly children.” Her words reached Terry Anderson’s ears and together they set out to make her wishes come true. They were aided by American veteran Lewis Puller who returned to Vietnam wanting to do something for the country.
The calls for donations were promptly heard, first by a founder of AOL Corp. Early funds built the first school in Vietnam in the Central division, that witnessed the national divide at Parallel 17 in Dong Ha, Quang Tri. The school was completed in 1995.
To date, VCF has built 51 schools across all regions in Vietnam. Most companies that lent their support are led by philanthropists who play a major role in corporate America. The chief executives of these businesses are all veterans of the Vietnam War. First founders of this fund were Lewis Puller and Terry Anderson. Today, after 20 years, the 51 schools all have two stories and meet American standards in terms of facilities. Now 40,000 children can go to school and many have become engineers, professors or doctors. These schools also serve as shelters for the locals when floods and natural disasters occur.
The 52nd school is due to be constructed in Cam Ranh, a famous destination during both war and peaceful times. Although construction costs have risen (when the project started costs were estimated at US$50,000. Now they are nearly US200,000), VCF has called for more donations. It is important that the 52nd school is put in operation to help children in remote areas obtain schooling. Given its prestige, VCF has attracted various major philanthropists. The hope for the future is to have a total of 61 schools serving 58,000 primary pupils across 61 provinces of Vietnam. Eventually, officers of the fund want to pass the torch to the younger generation to build further schools, enrich the country’s overall literacy and bolster socio-economic development.
VCF shies away from governmental funding. All funding is derived from individuals, foundations and corporations. With continued commitment from philanthropists, the fund can help rebuild Vietnam, school after school.
For further details and donations, please visit: vietnamchildren.org
Tax receipts due to be provided at
UNITED STATES :
PO Box 150
Unionville, Virginia 22567
Vuon Dao Apartment #304
Alley 689, Lac Long Quan Str.
Tay Ho Dist., Hanoi, Vietnam