The creation of the Collective Philanthropy Project (CPP) originated during the second Union of the North American Vietnamese Student Associations Conference in 2005, in conjunction with the Vietnamese Interacting As One (VIA-1) Conference. The concept of an annual philanthropy campaign came when youth leaders and professionals were in search of a vehicle to further drive uNAVSA’s mission of developing leaders and regions, networking and a unifying voice outside the conference.
The CPP is an initiative for Vietnamese-student and community organizations to collaborate and partner with in working toward a charitable cause. The idea was to create momentum for a collective national effort under one philanthropic campaign. The CPP campaign assists North American Vietnamese non-profit organizations or philanthropy organizations to better achieve their mission through collective and collaborative partnership with uNAVSA and its constituent groups.
We are proud to announce the Children of Vietnam as the beneficiary for the 2011-2012 CPP Campaign.
About Children of Vietnam
There are over 34 million children in Vietnam. With so many Vietnamese children living in poverty, many children face hunger, inadequate health care, homelessness or substandard housing, and lack of access to education. These children have little hope for a successful future.
Children of Vietnam creates a future for these children that is full of promise. COV is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing these children with what they need to succeed in life: good nutrition, life saving medical care, safe and secure housing, and access to education.
As a result of COV’s life changing programs, these children can look toward a brighter future. COV helps these children escape the cycle of poverty, overcome the limitation of disability, and realize the dreams they never thought possible.
The Story of Children of Vietnam
Children of Vietnam’s founding was humble—one man, Ben Wilson, seeing the unmet needs of thousands of children and acting in small yet significant ways to improve those children’s lives. As luck and fortune would have it, Ben Wilson, was sent to Danang, Vietnam in the early 1990’s on business, where he met Luong Thi Huong. Huong carried the same passion in her heart for the children she saw needing food, shelter, medicine, or a dry home. Together, Ben & Huong began to help the children, riding a scooter through the streets of Danang and into the countryside, bringing aide to children and their families.
Ben and Huong volunteered on their own time and with their own resources and the resources generously given by friends, family, and church. Within months, Huong’s living room became a staging area, filled with donations of food, clothing, and medicine from Ben’s frequent trips home to the United States. When Ben retired from his business in Vietnam and returned home to the States, he could not forget the Vietnamese people whom he had so grown to love. Ben knew he needed to make a lasting change for the Vietnamese children and their families and he continued looking for ways to help.
In the meantime, word was traveling fast in Danang. Families were knocking on Huong’s door asking for help. From a world away, Ben was sending money and material goods and Huong, out of her living room, was assisting families, stretching the resources to the best of her ability.
The spirit and passion of Ben and Huong’s work continued and in 1998, Children of Vietnam was formally established as a 501(c)(3) organization with Ben Wilson serving as President and Luong Thi Huong serving as COV’s Program Director in Vietnam. Over the past decade, COV has continued to grow and thrive. Children of Vietnam now provides a number of life changing services for the children through its four program areas—education, housing, nutrition and medical and its two special initiatives: Empowering Foundations for Women and their Children (supporting single woman and their families with education, training and housing), and Hope System of Care, (wrap around services for children with disabling conditions, including those who have congenital impairments or may have been negatively impacted by exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin).
What began in a living room in Danang, Vietnam has grown into much more than either Ben or Huong could ever have dreamed as they were riding on a scooter through the countryside. Ten years later, a volunteer board of directors and advisory board of directors now support Ben in the United States. Huong, now COV’s Vietnam’s Country Director, oversees a staff of seven in-country employees in Vietnam. In addition, a growing number of generous individuals, small businesses, churches, corporations and foundations support COV’s work bringing Ben and Huong’s dream of a better tomorrow for thousands of children a reality.
In 2008, Children of Vietnam marked its 10-year anniversary with celebrations in both the United States and Vietnam. COV is excited about its future and plans to continue to serve the children of Vietnam for many years to come.
More information can be found here.