Last January 14, 2023 was probably a memorable day for me and Mr. Kim Il Hong, General Director of Hansem Vietnam. Through my daughter’s school, I was introduced to the Go Vap Child Care and Protection Center. It’s a safe haven for sick newborns whose parents have abandoned them at the hospital. Some apparently healthy children are also being left here without explanation. These kids are taken in and nurtured by the center. After listening to my sharing, Mr. Kim, with a heart of compassion and love for children, wants to visit and give gifts to the children on the occasion of the upcoming New Year and also provide the center with 1.000 kg of rice.
When I got there, the scene that appeared before my eyes was different from what I had initially thought. Their predicaments were more dire than I thought. The administration took us on a tour of each section, which was separated according to the children’s various diagnoses and treatments When entering the first room, everyone was utterly dumbfounded before the children with hydrocephalus whose heads were larger than their bodies lying with their eyes open looking into the air. We were told by the guide woman that these children usually have a life expectancy of about 10 years. In the past, the number was more than now, but since some of the children had reached their age, the number has decreased. She added that she knew these children wouldn’t live long, but she couldn’t abandon them either. We then followed her to the room of children with limb and neurological defects, some children yelled when seeing strangers, while a few looked at me with silly smiles.
My heart already felt heavy after going through the second room. Going to the third room where children with congenital heart disease or cleft palate lived, these children had the same awareness as any healthy people. When we gave out candy, they accepted with both hands and their smiles were as bright as the sun, which somehow soothed every one of us in the group. We stayed for a while to play and take souvenir photos with the children, then let them rest. We said goodbye to the Management and left.
It had been a day filled with profound significance and tremendous emotion. While we were driving back, Mr. Kim expressed his desire to help children who had experienced similar hardships by donating to foster care and other care facilities. He learnt about the many shelters and organizations in Vietnam doing volunteer work of various types from the Go Vap Child Care and Protection Center’s administration, and he found this to be highly humanitarian and honorable activity. For him, everyone has the right to live no matter what the circumstances. He hopes that Hansem Vietnam will grow more and more to be able to contribute more to charity organizations in Vietnam.