Orphelinat maison TE PHAN - HCMV - Projet soutenu et sponsorisé par la M & B POHL FOUNDATION
Visiting the House of Te-Phan 30 august 2018 – Steve Wagner
Inside the « House of Te-Phan » orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon). Spending between 6-8 weeks a year in Vietnam for the past 14 years, and acting as a volunteer member and project leader for « Aide au Vietnam » (AAV), a Luxembourg based NGO, I manage to see a different side of Vietnam, off the beaten track, as most tourists see.
Meeting the people, many of them disabled children. receiving aid from our NGO and our donors, and hearing their sad stories, is sometimes heartbreaking. Nevertheless, I am always amazed, of what skills, intellectual, manual and artistic, many of these children are capable of, despite their handicap. At Te-Phan, where they are well cared for, these skills are noticed and developped. My highest respect goes to those kids for achieving goals,I myself, as a non.handicapped person, am not capable of.
So let’s meet some of the residents of Te-Phan and get to know their stories…
Nhi is a 14 year old girl and was born blind. She is also subject to epileptic attacks. This however, did not stop her from developping other senses.
Attracted by sounds, she began to interest herself in music. Only by hearing, she began to learn to play the piano, the mandoline and the Dan Bao, a traditional Vietnamese monochord string instrument, like a zither. She is also a keen singer of traditional Vietnamese songs.
As the orphanage had a piano given to them, she is able to practice on a daily basis.
Over the years, Nhi has developped her musical skills so well, that she has been invited to give piano concerts in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Although the orphanage does not receive any governmental aid, the local authorities have become aware of her skills and have made it possible for her to take music classes in the music conservatory in Ho Chi Minh.
Hearing her play Beethoven, was an absolute delight for me.
Nhi loves going to school and reads Braille.
The following link shows her singing in a 2017 show, with the famous Vietnamese singer Phi Nhung.
Sang Sang is physically handicapped and can only move around in a wheelchair, or by sliding over the floor.
This didn’t stop him from winning 3 Gold medals at the « National Vietnamese chess competition for disabled persons » a few weeks ago. I had the privilege of congratulating him personally a few days ago, on this marvellous achievment.
Young, but talented
This young man, (whose name has temporarily left my mind 😉 ) is 4 years old. Born blind, and deaf on 1 ear, he was lucky to have an eye operation in Singapore some months ago, paid by a rich Singaporean businessman, and has regained 40% of his eyesight in his left eye. By his actual skills, he is sure going to become an accomplished pianist, later in life.
Last, but not least, Hong is probably the person, who accomplishes the greatest achievement, on a daily basis, which is staying alive.
Hong is an 18 year old girl, and has been living in Te Phan orphanage for over 17 years now. She was brought to the orphanage by her mother, a woman selling her body on the streets of Ho Chi Minh City.
Hong is severly mentally and physically disabled. She cannot walk and barely sit in a wheelchair. She has to be fed daily and as her stomach cannot always hold the food she is given, Hong barely weighs 15 kg!!! Furthermore she has problems with her lungs.
Seeing her in 2017, I was appalled. Although she received medical treatment and a therapy to ease her pains, her limbs were covered with open sores, due to her having to lie down permanently. Hong is well looked after and does look a lot better than in 2017. However, she does remain a very fragile person.
Visite de l’orphelinat Te-Phan 30 août 2018 – Steve Wagner
Au cours de mes 14 années passées au Vietnam entre 6 et 8 semaines par an, et en tant que membre volontaire et chef de projet pour « Aide au Vietnam » (AAV), une ONG basée à Luxembourg, je réussis à découvrir le Vietnam sous un angle différent. hors des sentiers battus, comme le voient la plupart des touristes. Rencontrer les gens, dont beaucoup d’enfants handicapés. Recevoir de l’aide de notre ONG et de nos donateurs et entendre leurs tristes récits est parfois déchirant.
Néanmoins, je suis toujours émerveillé par les compétences, intellectuelles, manuelles et artistiques, dont nombre de ces enfants sont capables, malgré leur handicap.
À Te-Phan, où ils sont bien soignés, ces compétences sont remarquées et développées. Mon plus grand respect concerne les enfants qui atteignent leurs objectifs, ce dont je ne suis pas capable en tant que personne non handicapée.
Alors nous rencontrons des habitants de Te-Phan et apprenons à connaître leurs histoires … Nhi Nhi est une fille de 14 ans née aveugle. Elle est également sujette à des crises d’épilepsie. Cela ne l’empêche toutefois pas de développer d’autres sens. Attirée par les sons, elle commence à s’intéresser à la musique. Seulement en entendant, elle a commencé à apprendre à jouer du piano, de la mandoline et du Dan Bao, un instrument à cordes monocorde traditionnel vietnamien, à la manière d’une cithare.
Elle est également une chanteuse passionnée de chansons vietnamiennes traditionnelles. Comme un piano leur a été donné à l’orphelinat, elle est capable de pratiquer quotidiennement. Au fil des ans, Nhi a tellement développé ses compétences musicales qu’elle a été invitée à donner des concerts de piano à Hong Kong et à Singapour. Bien que l’orphelinat ne reçoive aucune aide gouvernementale, les autorités locales ont pris conscience de ses compétences et lui ont permis de suivre des cours de musique au conservatoire de musique de Ho Chi Minh. L’entendre jouer Beethoven était pour moi un délice absolu.
Nhi aime aller à l’école et lit le braille.
Le lien suivant la montre dans une émission de 2017 avec la célèbre chanteuse vietnamienne Phi Nhung. https://youtu.be/m6J4HMIHHQwa
Photos : AAV/Steve Wagner
The children, often deposed on the doorstep, do not know their parents. They are the children of poor and broken families, single mothers, drug addicts, prostitutes, alcoholic parents …and so on…all our modern Society has to offer. Many of them have mental and physical disabilities, some are HIV infected. The « House of Te-Phan », founded in 1985 and led by Fr. Binh and Sr. Minh Thu, receives no Government aid and relies only on possible donations. While Fr. Binh sees to the elder boys, Sr. Minh Thu gave up her good job to take care of the girls and younger children of the home. Both do a wonderful job, assisted by the older children, who take care, quite normally, of the younger residents during their absence.
« Aide au Vietnam » (AAV) has been aiding the « House of Te-Phan » since 2016. It is an absolute pleasure working with them. With the help of an unnamed donor, AAV manges to help with the running costs of the « House of Te-Phan » (Rent, water electricity, food, medical aid and school fees). For 2018 this aid is totalled at 30.000 Euros (750.000.000 VND).
Providing the kids with good food and medical aid, and schooling is essential to enable them to find a job later on and to be able to lead a life in human dignity. Many of the former residents still come back to « Te-phan » to lend a helping hand.
The orphanage is temporarily located in a house rented out by a lady close to the spirit of « Te-Phan » However as the location is not entirely suited for handicapped children, the residents are awaiting their move to their « new » home, which in fact was their old home and is currently being renovated.
Feeding 90 children, is a lot of work and also needs some shopping. I like to take time and accompany Sr. Minh Thu.
So let’s have a look at the house and it’s residents…
Photos : AAV/Steve Wagner
Another visit to Te-Phan - 27 august 2018 - Steve Wagner with Uyen Truong from the staff of BSBH
Photos : AAV/Steve Wagner