From Orphanages

2017 Fall/Winter Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update: Vietnam (4th Quarter)

Typhoon Damrey made landfall on November 4th, causing severe damages to the coastal communities of Central Vietnam. More than 400,000 people were in need of humanitarian assistance after the devastated cyclone and other storms that came during the last quarter of the year 2017.

The areas of Điện Bàn, Duy Xuyên, Duy Phước were among the poorest districts of Central Vietnam. Via networking, our volunteer in Danang, Ngọc Anh found the poorest schools of these areas and contacted the school administrators of these districts to learn about the conditions of the students. Together, they selected 350 students from these 10 schools to awards aid-packages comprised of warms-waterproof jackets (since these students have to walk long ways to school under the chilling rain), backpacks, notebooks, other school supplies and milk. Most of the selected students are orphans or have lost one parent, are living under very difficult conditions. However, they always seem to be in good spirits and always study hard. They were so happy to received our gifts, as a brand new jackets and milk are not something that often come their way.Right after Typhoon Damrey, we also supplied Ưu Đàm, the orphanage in the outskirts of Hue city, with 500 kg of rice and other needed food items and supplies as the rice supply of the orphanage was running low. The weather in Hue is brutally cold during the winter. We hope the rice and other food supplies will help keep the children of the orphanage get thru another month.

As Christmas is near and another year is coming, we are very happy that we have provided aid to more than 1,600 children from 3 orphanages and 37 schools in Quảng Trị, Huế and Quảng Nam provinces. We are happy to hear that five more children from Uu Dam orphanage gọt accepted to Universities, one of those is in Australia (with full scholarship). We are very thankful to ATG’s sponsors and donors who continue to support our cause and make it possible for us to secure the much needed items for the children and help them with their journey for a good education.

We also very much appreciate our volunteers in Viet Nam, chị Mãng Phan, anh Nguyễn Chí Hùng, chị Ngọc Anh, và chị Liên Hoa, who helped us not only with selecting the students but who also spent time to search and select the appropriate suppliers of the needed items for the children. We are very touched to see the ATG logo on the clothes and backpacks. We hope the children will look at the ATG logo and remember that we were there for them and will cheer for them a long the way.

 

We thank you for your generous support in our mission to help these children in need and for allowing us to make a direct impact in their lives and futures. It is with your support that we can continue to improve the lives of underprivileged children and give them hope of a brighter future. Please continue to support our cause by donating.

We wish you a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year!

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Fall Update: Vietnam


Going Against The Grain came from the idea that what you are born into doesn’t dictate the rest of your life. This aid expedition marked 10 years since Against The Grain’s first aid expedition. During that trip, we visited 3 orphanages and realized how little it takes to make a significant impact and change in a child’s life. Since that first trip, we have since grown to help support multiple orphanages and several underprivileged facilities across several countries. And the impact of our donations continues to help and encourage each child no matter which country they’re from.

During this Vietnam aid expedition trip, we helped over 300 underprivileged children across 21 different schools, and over 200 orphans and handicapped children. We were able to provide a year’s worth of school supplies and several months food with just $6,500 USD. $5,000 was used to cover for back-to-school needs (uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, milk) and $1,500 for the 3 orphanages we visited. With the additional help and donations from our ATG Founding Board Member/Ambassador Aivy Nguyen’s company Golin PR, she along with our much appreciated volunteers were able to spend the week with the different schools and orphanages and get to know how they’ve all progressed in the past few years since ATG’s first visit.

Read more

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update: Cambodia

Thanks to our country advisor, Thear Suzuki, her parents and family in Cambodia, ATG was able to disburse aid to 164 orphans, each child receiving fish sauce, soy sauce, sardines, noodles and 11.42 kg of rice.

Thear reported:

Dear Tammy and ATG Team,

I appreciate the hard work of the ATG team and volunteers to raise funds to assist orphans in Southeast Asia. It is without a doubt a labor of love. In 2017, ATG’s budget of $3,000 enabled our on the ground volunteers to distribute food items to 164 children across 16 small churches in 5 different provinces and remote villages. Every year, for the past 3 years, we have been able to assist more children. These children live with grandparents and relatives. They have very little means, lacking basic needs such as food, school supplies and clothes. Aid from ATG is the only source of support for these children. To date, we have only provided food supplies. In the future, it would be helpful to also provide them with school supplies and clothes. The support we are able to provide means the world to them. The children very happy and grateful to receive help from ATG. Because of ATG they experience kindness from strangers.

I am reminded of Luke 12:48, “For of those to whom much is given, much is required.” It is clear that members of the ATG community live by this teaching…using your talents, time and wealth to benefit others. Furthermore, you are spreading this message through your actions, both in the US and across the world. We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the leadership of the ATG Board, volunteers and donors for giving so generously of time, energy and financial resources without expecting anything in return.

In service Together,

Thear and volunteers in Cambodia

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Update: The Philippines

Thanks to the help of ATG Ambassador (Aid – Philippines) Jennifer Devany and her family, ATG was able to disburse a total of $2,900 to two orphanages: Missionaries of the Poor and Missionaries of Charity, and to the less fortunate children at the school of Ipil. 83 children have received an abundance of items to meet their basic needs.

At Missionaries of Charity in Naga City, we were able to provide the 25 children at the orphanage school supplies, diapers, clothes, formula, dried goods, and toiletries.

 

The 20 children residing at Missionaries of the Poor were provided formula, dried goods, diapers, clothes, and toiletries. ATG Ambassador Jennifer Devany reports,

“Brother Johnson would not allow me to take pictures with the kids; instead I was able to take pictures of the disbursement with the assistance of my family and one of the brothers of the missionary.  He also allowed me to take a picture with him in front of the orphanage and with another with a boy playing outside who had deformities. Brother Johnson was overjoyed and beyond thankful for our generosity.  He provided me with Father Lawrence L. Mendoza, who is the superior orphanage, in order to obtain approval to take pictures for if/when we return.”

The following week, Jennifer and her family took a boat across Buhi Lake and provided for underprivileged children at Ipil Elementary School.

“The week before, I went to the school and interviewed 36 students who were either being taken care of by one parent, their grandmother, or by themselves. This was a very touching experience, filled with tears.  When we arrived, the whole village helped bring boxes off the boat. They opened their church doors to us to assemble the goods, and they also helped with our assembly line.  We provided for 2 infants, 11 boys and 25 girls, ranging from 2-13 years old. Each one of these kids had tear jerking stories. One of the boys we had interviewed was very sick with a fever that day we disbursed, but he and his grandmother still managed to walk down to the church from the mountain top. Another child was 12 years old, providing for herself and two other sisters in their own home.  Their grandmother was up the mountain from where they lived to assist. The children, however, lived on their own with no parents. There were two boys who were being taken care of solely by their father due to their mother and newborn having passed away during childbirth. Stories like these are extremely humbling and help me appreciate what we have in the US. It helps me appreciate being a part of ATG; we can do our part in touching the lives of these less fortunate children so they may have a better future.”

We thank you for your generous support in our mission to help these children in need and allowing us to make a direct impact in their lives and futures. If you would like to donate to help our cause, please donate here.

 

2017 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Spring Update: Vietnam

ATG began the year of 2017 by selecting 32 orphans from various schools of Hai Chanh District, a very poor town of Quang Tri, a war-torn province in Central Vietnam. Since Tết (Luna New Year)’s approaching, we included in the gift packages Jasmine rice, milk, and some Tet’s special sweet treats (Mứt) to help these children celebrate Tết. Each gift package cost only 405,000VND, but sure brought to these children much happiness.

In March, Mang Phan, a retired teacher and ATG volunteer in Quang Tri, worked with various school districts to select 310 students from 18 different schools for a distribution of gift packages. These students had lost one or both parents and were from “extremely poor” or “poor” classified families. Our volunteer surveyed their needs and decided upon the gift packages, which this time were comprised of school backpacks, a set of clothes for the summer, school supplies, 10kg of Jasmine rice and milk. For the 92 Kindergarten students, we provided each of them with a school backpack and a larger supply of milk instead of rice. Each gift package cost approximately 340,000VND.

Read more

Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid: Vietnam

Throughout the month of December 2016, with the coordinated efforts of our advisor to Vietnam, Mrs. Aileen Nguyen, and our dedicated volunteers on the ground, ATG distributed gift packages to 246 students from six schools who are orphans and/or from poverty in Dien Ban, Quang Nam and Da Nang, Vietnam. Packages included a winter jacket, milk and a year of school supplies. From this group of these children, we selected six of the most needy and awarded them with new bicycles to help them get to school. Transportation to school is one of the biggest barriers to overcome for these children, something that is often taken for granted here in the United States.

In addition, we purchased groceries for Ưu Đàm, an orphanage that cares for approximately 50 children in the poor district of Phu My outside Hue.

 

We thank you for your generous support in our mission to help these children in need and allowing us to make a direct impact in their lives and futures. If you would like to donate to help our cause, please donate here.

 

Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: Thailand

Thanks to our aid advisor to Thailand, Lisa Tran, and our ambassador Yui Yud, ATG was able to make a small disbursement of $550 in aid over the Christmas holidays to The Mercy Center, which is located in central Bangkok, Thailand in an area called Klong Toey, an area which is synonymous to the large slum community that lives here. According to a report done by Borgen magazine in 2014, the area is “one of the country’s 5,500 slum communities, covers an area of around a square mile and is home to around 100,000 people.” (http://www.borgenmagazine.com/bangkoks-klong-toey-slum/)

“Around 20 percent of Bangkok’s residents live in illegal squatter settlements all around the city. Dating back from the 1950s, Klong Toey is one of the country’s oldest and most well-known slums. Many inhabitants of Klong Toey originate from the country’s poorer northeast who have been attracted by the work opportunities of the district’s river port, Bangkok’s largest wet market, the business district as well as the oil refineries in nearby districts. Aside from poverty, drug addiction is a very pressing problem among the slum’s youth. Methamphetamine and crystal methamphetamine are the two most common hard drugs. Furthermore, basic amenities such as water and electricity are always in short supply.

In Klong Toey, an average household earns only around half of the national average and only around one-third of the income an average Bangkok household. Moreover, the living condition within the slum is also truly appalling. Against the backdrop of the intense and humid tropical heat of over-urbanized Bangkok accompanied with the putrefying odor of the city’s sewage system, the residents of Klong Toey experience murders, abuse, petty and serious crimes, drug addictions, unmanaged waste, unemployment and grinding poverty on a regular basis. Garbage and undrained sewage clogging litter the slum community and elderly and people with disabilities sitting in front of their makeshift tin shack houses.

As many inhabitants lack the skills and the recognized qualifications necessary to achieve social mobility, breaking away from the vicious cycle of poverty is incredibly difficult. To make matters worse, in Thailand—one of the global centers of human trafficking and sex trade—many residents of Klong Toey find their livelihood in the informal sector, some of which are illicit.

In Thailand, it is estimated that a third of the country’s working age population work in the informal sector, an umbrella category that includes everything from black market illegal businesses to selling garlands and street food.This means that a large part of country’s working population do not have any retirement plans, health insurance or any other social benefits. It is also estimated that 2.5 million children in Thailand are absent from school. Certainly social welfare and human development concerns are among the some of the most pressing issues of the country. Nevertheless, with Thailand’s “larger” political and economic problems, these “smaller” issues are hardly discussed and many urbanites are unaware of their existence.”

Read more: http://www.timetravelturtle.com/2013/01/klong-toey-slum-bangkok-helping-hands/

The Mercy Center’s Mission:

We work to help the children and communities of the many slums of Bangkok. Together with our neighbors in the slums we create simple-but-progressive solutions that touch the lives of thousands of the poor every day. We build and operate schools, improve family health and welfare, protect street children’s rights, combat the AIDS crisis, respond to daily emergencies, and offer shelter to orphans, to street children, and to children and adults with AIDS – always together, hand in hand and heart to heart with the people we serve.

As reported by Yui Yud: “After a number of phone calls with the staff at the Mercy Center, I found them to be very dedicated in their mission to help promote education to unfortunate children. They have set up their main office/home in the center of the Klong Toey slums which provides a home to around 200 children aged 3-18. This center also has a significant education center, with many classrooms, an art room, computer room, nursing station and a cafeteria. The education facility is provided for the children that live in the home, as well as other slum kids in the area whom are unable to afford outside education. Apart from the center at this location, they have up to 23 centers around the country which provide basic education for up to 3000 children between the age of 2-6. Many of the children whom come to their schools are not orphans, but families whom can’t afford education. Another interesting program they have is called Construction Camp. The concept is like a mobile school van which visits children at construction sites. Generally, these are migrant families from Cambodia and Myanmar whom come to find more income and bring their children along. Rather than having the children run around the construction sites all day, these vans visit the sites with teachers and provide the kids with some learning tools for the day. There are currently 9 camps at the moment.”

 

 

 

 

 

There are also many other programs that are run by the Mercy Center:

  • Janusz Korczak School of S.E. Asia – a non-formal school for street children
  • Legal Aid Centre for poor children
  • A community drop-in center for the elderly, the handicapped, adults living with HIV, children in trouble or afraid, anyone in need.
  • School Sponsorships. Over 500 primary and secondary school sponsorships for the poorest neighborhood children in Bangkok
  • Hospice Team for home visits to children and adults living with HIV
  • And many others (visit: http://www.mercycentre.org/en/home/programs-at-a-glance)

Thank you to Lisa, Yui and to you for your generous donations so we can continue this important work. Please continue to donate to our cause here. 

2016 Underprivileged Children and Orphanage Aid Fall Update: Vietnam

by ATG Advisor to Vietnam Aileen Nguyen

ATG continues our mission to help students from extremely disadvantaged families to go to school. This time, we prepared and distributed 246 sets of gifts comprised of a winter jacket, a school uniform set, and school supplies for this school year to students from Quang Tri Province, a war-torn town 160 km north of Da Nang.

During the Vietnam War, many fierce battles happened here in Quang Tri. Thus, the province infrastructure was destroyed, and most of its people fled town to safety. After the war ended, though people have started to come back, there is still much to rebuild. Students mostly go to schools in old rundown buildings with no heat or A/C. The weather of Quang Tri is bitter cold in the winter and extremely hot in the summer.

Most of the students cannot afford warm clothes, uniforms, or even school supplies.
Our volunteer Mãng, who is my cousin and a retired teacher, recognized that most of these poor students have only ever worn hand-me-down clothing. Thus she took time to have each child measured to ensure that their new uniforms and jackets would fit them.

To make the distributions to various schools of Quang Tri, my cousin and her husband had to travel to various schools, often via small roads crossing the rice fields. One time, her motorcycle broke down and had to be pulled with chains. However, the rewards for our volunteers’ efforts were the smiles on the children’s faces when they received the gifts and got to try on the new jackets.

Some of them will wear their first ever brand new uniform. Each set of a gift of a jacket, uniform, and a year’s worth of school supplies cost approximately $16, an equivalent of a fancy cocktail drink in the U.S. However, this gift brings so much hope and happiness to these children and their teachers, too.

We are thankful for our volunteers, Mãng and her husband Hung, who have helped extend the arms of ATG to bring gifts to the students of the Quang Tri province. We also appreciate the ATG team members, friends and supporters whose continuous support has made these trips possible!

Orphanage and Underprivileged Children Aid Update: The Philippines

ATG was able to provide $2,100 to support underprivileged children in the Philippines recently with the remaining $900 still in process of being disbursed. Thanks to the help of ATG Co-Director of Programming/Events Jennifer Devany’s family and family friends, 100 kids in the province of Buhi Camarines Sur were so humbled and grateful to have received an abundance of items to meet their basic needs. The following items were provided to the children:

         – School supplies such as bag packs, notebooks, pens/pencils, note pads
         – Toiletries such as toothbrushes, shampoo/conditioner
         – Clothing such as slippers, t-shirts and shorts, raincoat, umbrellas
         – Food such as noodles, sardines and milk

image

image-1

image-2

image-3
“There is a family of 10 children raised only by a mother. The youngest of the children has developed sclerosis. The children do not know what happened to the father,” said Cherry Rose Nachos, Jennifer’s cousin, who has been a tremendous help to distributing these items to the underprivileged children. Cherry Rose interviewed a seven year-old child who has three siblings and who are all being taken care of by their grandparents. She, too, does not know what happened to their parents. She can barely speak as she holds back tears when asked where her parents. Many thanks to your donations to help underprivileged children in need for our second disbursement to the Philippines.