Huong La Center
Huong La center is a disability/ orphanage center operated by 12 Catholic sisters in the Diocese of Bac Ninh province, Northern Vietnam, approximately sixty kilometers outside of Hanoi in a very rural village. We have worked at this program for one year and are now in the process of setting up a Helping Hands Vietnam program there and recruiting volunteers to help out. Red Lotus focuses only on two programs, Ba Vi disability center which currently attracts basically all of our volunteers and has a huge return rate of over 50%. The other is now Huong La as the two have one thing in common, need, because of their limited resources and third world conditions they have a genuine need for volunteers of all descriptions. We believe Ba Vi to be the most needy center in Vietnam and Huong La while having having the wonderful sisters is still in desperate need of funding and help. The sisters are wonderful but they can only do so much with their limited resources and training, they do everything voluntarily.
There is forty children at the center, twelve with severe physical disabilities and others with mild intellectual disabilities, autism, down syndrome. There are also some children at the center without disabilities, they have just had a lot of bad luck in their young lives. We are starting a Helping Hands Vietnam program there similar to the successful one we have in Ba Vi. In Ba Vi we now employ eight local ladies in the areas or Education, Health, Physio and Occupational therapy and also creative therapy. We will not have as many staff as we have in Ba Vi here because there is a huge difference in numbers and disability types, the sisters mainly need help in activities and if we can we will provide them with specialists in disability types and give some much needed training.
We only recruit ten volunteers per month at the Ba Vi center so that the operations of our Helping Hands program can run smoothly, and like Ba Vi volunteer numbers at Huong La are also restricted to only four volunteers per month. If you have compassion, love in your heart and can really make a genuine effort toward understanding, then we love to see you here, or at Ba Vi, whichever you feel would best suit you. We just invite you to share in our happiness.
Cost: Placement Fee / Donation US$560 - reduced for returning volunteers
The Placement Fee is payable one month in advance of your arrival
If you need to cancel your trip due to an emergency Red Lotus will refund US$400 of the fee, but will retainUS$160 to cover administration costs
Accommodation: Is provided at the center in a shared or private room, the room is clean and has a bathroom attached. The area is within a small rural village, but if needed arrangements can be made for you to go to a small town approximately 2 kilometers away where you can find a supermarket, chemists, and any basic items you may need. Wi Fi is available in certain areas of the center.
Meals: Three basic Vietnamese meals a day are provided at the center although it should be noted the kids and sisters rise at about 4.30am and go to a nearby church for prayer and study, they then eat breakfast at around 6.30am, volunteers are welcome to purchase something basic for their rooms to eat for breakfast and join everyone a little later. Volunteers are also welcome to join in any religious activities that the sisters conduct, but this is certainly not compulsory. They do not care of religion types they are just happy to have people help them.
Accommodation - Food Costs: These costs are free but we do encourage you to make a small donation to the center to help them out. We have recently started a sponsored food program to help them as they have little monies to meet the protein requirements of the kids, they grow almost all of their food. It is a two bus trip back to Hanoi but they are very crowded public buses and it is advised that you save a little money before coming for fares in a private car from Hanoi to the center and vice versa, approximately $25 each way should you wish to spend the weekend in Hanoi or travel a little.
Rule: You will be in a very rural area in a small village but the sisters have asked that any volunteers that come should eat the night meal, 6.30pm and then stay at the center. They, like us, have a rsponsibility for your welfare and although you will be in a very safe area the sisters, who retire early, do concern for volunteers welfare and we must respect that. The kids go to bed at around 8.30pm to 9pm.
Activities: Your duties would include helping the sisters with the general care of the kids both with and without disabilities, possibly setting up and teaching the kids a little English, games, activities, dance Through our Helping Hands program we have already set up a soft room and creative therapy room and also provided many disabiity aids. What you do here is only limited by the scope of your imagination and the resources of the center and what you bring with you. We hope to provide a more active day for all involved which in turn means healthier kids. You may also be involved in some work with the more severely disabled kids, all kids require love and attention, these ones even more so.
Minimum Length of Stay: 2 weeks
Support: Airport or Hanoi Transfer
Placement in a quality project, allowing you to maximize your time and efforts for a good cause
Guidance and support of the local Red Lotus Coordinator (24/7 in case of emergency)
Ongoing support during the term of the assignment