Orphanage for HIV born children

About 45 minutes outside of Ho Chi Ming City, Vietnam there is a very special orphanage called Mai Tam Shelter that takes care of 76 HIV born children.  The children range from newborns to 19 year olds.  Only six of the children are not true orphans, however, all six were permanently abandoned by their families at a nearby hospital.    

Depending on the orphans’ age, they live in either one of three facilities.  The biggest facility, which is featured in the above video, has 48 of the youngest children and ten adults living in a small space.  Interestingly, all ten adults were also born with HIV and choose to help at the orphanage for various reasons.  To give the children a better sense of family unity, and to simplify the living and sleeping arrangements, everyone is divided into smaller families.  The families consist of seven children and one or two adults living in one of seven bedrooms.  And because the rooms are so small the children use only yoga mats to sleep on and only a lucky few use pillows; not that the orphanage could afford it but there's also no space for beds or mattresses.

Financially, we were amazed at what the orphanage has to do to come up with all the money necessary to pay for everyone’s daily HIV medicine, much less, run the place.  Overall, it’s a very difficult financial situation for the orphanage. 

After touring the places we all agreed that a fairly comprehensive hygiene package would be the best gift we could give to the children.  And thanks to a very cool little girl from Texas, Sara Dawn Harris, who gave up a big birthday present to help the orphanage… we were able to buy the following:   A Year Supply Of: hand soap, dishwashing soap, floor and restroom cleaning solutions   A Half Year Supply Of: shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, garbage bags, baby lotion, baby shampoo, laundry detergent   AND:  over 150 children undergarments, six trash cans, 10 toilet brushes, lots of clothes hangers, 2 premium soap dispensers; 10 door mats; 10 hair combs; and two baby walking strollers.

The project was completed in four days and with a total cost of $865.  All 76 children will benefit from this donation.   Thank you Sara!!!