Sunday, April 8, 2007

Other Rotary Projects Happening in Vietnam

The current largest project is being headed up by Forrest Lloyd Rotary Club of China Lake District 5240: Project ICU (Intensive Care Unit) for the Cancer Hospital, Ho Chi Minh City children’s ward. Hear from Forrest's daughter details on the project by visiting

The hospital is the only facility available in the southern half of the country to treat children with cancer. At present, the hospital has no pediatric ICU facility. The incidence of children with certain childhood cancers is higher than in any other regional Asian countries, which doctors attribute in part to gene disorders resulting from the use of dioxins (Agent Orange) during the Vietnam War with the USA.

Forrest virtually introduced me to Sue McKinney, a member of the Rotary Club of Oakland Sunrise, who has been residing in Vietnam for over ten years.

Chuck and I met with Cliff Chan (Manager, Club and District Support Asia/Pacific) at Rotary International (RI) headquarters located in downtown Evanston, IL USA. Cliff explained that RI would like to support humanitarian Vietnam. He shared a list of Rotary Foundation projects over the last eleven years totaling $4,460,000. Cliff acknowledge that the largest item was RI’s PolioPlus ( but that his list was incomplete – actually Rotary initiatives were more but records were difficult to consolidate.

Other amazing rotary project in Vietnam includes Danny Low, a past governor of District 9680 (New South Wales), Wheelchair foundation which has donated over 1,000 wheelchairs to the needy in Vietnam.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

A new partnership forged with

As I was preparing for the initial 05-Apr-2007 presentation to Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club, one of the club members remembered Chuck Theusch presented two years ago on his group building libraries in vietnam. With a quick google search, provided Chuck's contact information and information on the fifteen libraries they have completed in Vietnam. Wow!!! I thought.

Chuck returned my call while on a trip in Florida talking to another Rotary group on his foundation. It turned out he is based in Milwaukee, Wi (about 90 minute drive from me) and he was on his way to Vietnam the next Thursday. To make a long story short, we had lunch in Evanston, IL on Monday, met with Cliff Chan at Rotary International, and Chuck agreed to visit Khai Tri and meet Miss Lam while he was in Vietnam.

Khai Tri Presentation to Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club

Please join us on April 5, 2007 at 12:15 p.m. at
The Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Ave., Winnetka, IL 60093

1) Summary of current Rotary Projects in Vietnam
2) Our February 2007 Vietnam Trip Summary
3) Helping Homeless Children in An Giang, Vietnam

For lunch and a presentation
at the Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club
By Dirk Tussing & Tom Nguyen

A copy of the presenation (full of pics) is online at (5MB MS-PPT)

Education is the only way to get out of poverty

As repeatedly reported by the Vietnam News Agency for several years, a lack of funding for vocational training and the poor discipline of the children are cited as the main obstacles to finding jobs for homeless children. Vietnam’s employment is scare even for trained and educated workers and even less for homeless children, the majority of whom are untrained. Poverty is the main factor driving the migration of 70-90% of homeless children to large cities.

The homeless children are an extraordinary challenge in Miss Lam’s province; it has one of the highest rates of HIV which is entering Vietnam from Cambodia. Many children in this orphanage are from the Cambodian border; they are victims of HIV many losing their parents to AIDS. They are victims of poverty and discrimination. As a school teacher with a big heart, Miss Lam said: “Education is the only way to get out of poverty”. She was called to act on their behalf to build both a home and a school that would help teach them respect and skills to have a bright future.

The Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club is leading a local initiative to raise the funds to help Miss Lam completes Khai Tri orphanage school library. 100% of each donation will be given directly to Miss Lam.

More details on how you can help is online at

Fifty dollars from fifty friends … that’s all we’re looking for. Fifty dollars from fifty donors adds up to $2,500, which your help can complete the school library at Khai Tri orphanage for an unbelievable woman with a dream.

Miss Lam of Long Xuyen, Vietnam is my former teacher before I went to America. Inspired by her commitment to education I went on to complete medical school. My name is Tom Nguyen and in February 2007 on a trip to Long Xuyen, Vietnam, I met Miss Lam when she shared how a dream she had one night lead to the Khai Tri orphanage.

Mission Statement

Mission: Winnetka-Northfield Rotary Club & A Full Life are engaging local community groups to help raise funds for unfortunate children of Vietnam to lead them out of poverty with shelter and education. The initial project is to furnish a school library and create educational/vocational programs for the Khai Tri orphanage in An Giang, Vietnam.