Monday, November 23, 2009

Saturday - November 7, 2009: Saigon

Breaking the cycle: with a little help from the Teach Me To Fish (TM2F) program

Tonight is the usual reunion of thirty some orphans formerly from Go Vap Orphanage. Each time I come to Saigon, a night is set aside for the reunion dinner of these grown kids supported by the Teach Me To Fish program. All of them grew up in the Go Vap Orphanage, then moved to the Picasso Orphanage. Most are out on their own, some have started their own families.

We meet at the usual restaurant. Some of the kids have to travel several hours by bus to reach the city center. We have done this so many times, they all know the routine. Each comes looking his/her best, it is the biggest event of the year since the last reunion (back in July) and until the next one (next year in April).

These children, now young adults, grew up together. They used to live under the same roof, sleep in the same big room, eat together, study together, play with each other just as other families with sibblings. Then they moved out of the orphanage and started their own lives. Some now they live in small groups, near where they work, support and care for each other. When one is ill, many will come and take turn to care for him or her. They look after each other as a big family.

I must admit there were times when I underestimated these kids. As much as we (through the TM2F program) tried to prepare them for life outside of the orphanage, they started on their own with very little. They work hard, study hard, follow good work ethics, help each other, and give back, if and when they can. Some have achieved their most important dream, breaking the cycle of being an orphan by having a family of their own. Almost all are giving all they have to escape the cycle of poverty.

It costs less than US$1 a day to support one of the many orphans in the Teach Me To Fish program. To contribute on line, go to: .

View photos of some of the TM2F kids at:

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