Children of Vietnam is a newly formed charity organization started in 1998 by Ben Wilson, a retired professional engineer who has many years experience working in Southeast Asia.
When he traveled and worked in Vietnam in 1994-1997, he came to understand and respect a very special nation of friendly people, a nation of people who accomplish a great deal with very limited personal resources. Vietnam is a nation of families who care for each other, who share, who have long family discussions about which family member will have the privilege of caring for their parents or grandparents in their old age. Their children study every night because they know that knowledge is the foundation of any nation and being able to attend school is a significant privilege (schools are not free).
A nation of farming families (75% of population), they toil from sunrise to sunset for US$30-40 per month and love their rice fields and their country as none other. They feel a part of their land.
Vietnam is very protective of its culture, national heritage and its 54 ethnic groups, most of whom live in the countryside.
In 1995-1997, Ben Wilson, when visiting day by day with the people, began to understand their very significant needs. The back roads and byways of Vietnam harbored many children with afflictions, disabilities and physical problems due to their poverty, dangerous materials of past wars that still remain and the lack of medical facilities and doctors. The people challenge death by attempting to recover the metal in bombs, land mines and old ammunition for what little money it brings on the scrap market. Many times the result is serious injury or death.
In 1996, Ben Wilson, during his only day free from work each week, began buying prosthetics for children, providing food and treats to orphanages, retirement homes and schools for disabled children and constructing houses from his own funds, the need was so significant. The attitude of appreciation was universal.
Funds are personally delivered to Vietnam by Ben Wilson twice yearly to these children along with medicines and other needed goods. Each family situation is carefully evaluated and funds are placed in their hands whether for prosthetics, physical operations, food, clothing or schooling.
Houses, bridges and schools are being built and repaired and a medical team is planned from Winston-Salem, NC to Danang General Hospital to teach surgical procedures. Animals such as pigs and fish are provided to orphanages so as to raise their own food. Wheelchairs and hearing aids are provided to needy children.
Children of Vietnam, now an IRS 501(c)3 tax exempt organization is dedicated to providing a better life for the disabled, handicapped, and crippled children of Vietnam and their families.
Our plan is to expand our mission as rapidly as possible to help these children and to draw our two countries closer together.
Traveling the streets of Vietnam has opened our eyes to the significant needs of children there and these images are engraved on our hearts and minds forever.