Last week, on 28 March 2015, the AusCham website ran a story about Donating a small mountain of food and supplies to the Long Hai Centre in the lead up to ANZAC Weekend. It was a story about Luke Cameron raising money in Australia to buy food and produce for the orphanages in Long Hai and Vung Tau.

In the video below (dated 2 March, 2015), film maker, Stephen Drummond takes a closer look at the amazing work done by Le Thi Trang Dai and Le Thi My Huong who run these two child protection centres.

Description accompanying the video, by Stephen Drummond

In 1999 a Vietnamese woman by the name of Le Thi Trang Dai worked for the Department of Social Services in Vung Tau.

While she was there, she saw a need to open up a Centre for abandoned children.

Le Thi Trang Dai applied for, and received, a permit from the People’s Committee before renting a small house and with the help of two friends began taking care of 16 children who had been living on the streets.

Fast forward to 2012 and the organisation, officially named the ‘Centre for Social Protection of Children’ in 2005, now has three centres which care for disadvantaged children.

  • (P) Centre houses around 100 babies and children including those with HIV, disabilities and psychological needs.
  • (N) Centre accommodates around 25 to 50 street children aged 7 years and older. Some are referred by local police or brought to the Centre by relatives unable to care for them.
  • Long Hai Centre provides free education and a meal for around 110 children from poor families in the local community who cannot afford to send them to a government school. Stage two of the Centre will provide residential care for around 60 abandoned and disabled children with special focus on rehabilitating those affected by Agent Orange.

In 2008, an Australian-Vietnamese woman by the name of Le Thi My Huong came to work for the Organization with past experience working with street children and orphans in Zambia, Africa.

In the same year, she was appointed as the Vung Tau representative for the French Association, Pour les Enfants des Rizeres (APER). APER was founded in 20012 by Mr Christopher Carrat after he had met with Le Thi Trang Dai and seen her efforts to help disadvantaged children in Vung Tau.

APER has been instrumental in helping the Organization since that time, especially with what has been achieved at the Long Hai Centre.

Le Thi My Huong and Le Thi Trang Dai, driven by big hearts, along with the dedicated staff, have provided so much more than food, shelter and education for the disadvantaged children under their care.

The children learn invaluable life skills in an environment which encourages them to care for one another and for some of the Organizations children with health concerns, especially those diagnosed with HIV. They receive regular medical care and, more importantly, a sense of family and as much joy brought into their lives as possible.

Visitors to the Centres are struck by the respectfulness, love and happiness amongst the children and are also impressed by the facilities and staff within the Organization which help nurture the children towards the future.

Funding for the ‘Centre for Social Protection of Children’ is always of constant concern, which receives minimal government funding and relies on the generosity and compassion of private companies, various organizations and individuals to maintain its operation.

It is hoped through more recognition of the great work being done, other sources can be found to help the many disadvantaged children that come under its care now and in the future.

For more information

Please visit the the website for the Centre for Social Protection of Children.