A “support network” for 22 thousand street children
by JB. VU
65 Drop in centres and hospices in Ho Chi Minh City not only offer new hope to the small abandoned children, they also give fresh opportunities for work experience to students who want to work in the field of social welfare.
Ho Chi Minh City (AsiaNews) – Over a hundred social workers of different religions are keeping alive a network of 65 drop in centres and hospices for over 22 thousand street children across Ho Chi Minh City. The 100 social workers are Catholic Buddhist or of no religion at all but they are all dedicated “to the same love and devotion” .
Sister Thao, Tam Hiep OP, told Asianews, “the social workers’ club is a place where we can support and help one another in our work. Besides social activities we need to share cultural and spiritual issues for better living. I feel happy when working here. The members are good and helpful to me. We bring happiness and hopefulness to the children, by being good social models”.
Buddhist nun Hue Tri has attended the club since 1994. She told Asianews, “ I hope that in my next incarnation I am still Hue Tri so I can work with children. Carrying out my work, I am still faced with difficulties from local government. But with time they will understand us, because we are working for the basic rights of unlucky children.”
Gia, working for one non-government organization in Ho Chi Minh City met and shared his views with members of the social workers’ club, “the club is very important for us. In Vietnam there are 28 universities permitted by the ministry of education to open majors in social work and community development. But we lack social work practice. Some provincial universities are also lacking places for field work. So students can not gain new knowledge and skills. The club is an ideal place to learn and share experiences with one another”.
All the social workers – 60% of whom are Catholic, dedicate themselves with great humanity to their work so these children will feel neither marginalized or discriminated against. The teachers and assistants understand the difficulties these children face, often because they too have come from similarly difficult situations.