British woman helps disabled orphans in Hoi An
Jacqueline said that when she first visited the Hoi An Centre for Disabled Orphans five years ago, she decided to stay in Viet Nam to set up a charity specialising in providing physical therapy training for staff members of the centre.
"First of all we found funding for one Vietnamese physical therapist to give therapy to the children and over the years, we added three more staff members," she said.
According to Jacqueline, she ran into difficulties when she began her work at the children's home because the Vietnamese staff there did not understand her and she did not understand them because of differences language and working method. They had a few problems learning to work together but they now have a good relationship; they understand each other well and co-operate to provide services for the disabled children.
She revealed that her charity has brought professionals from the west in to train the centre staff. "We have a physical therapy specialist and a special education teacher who comes every year to provide training that is not available in Viet Nam. We think that our therapists and special teachers are now the best in central Viet Nam," she said.
Many foreigners coming to the orphanage comment that this centre is different from others. The building may be old but the atmosphere is good, with lots of smiles and happy children and staff with positive attitudes, she said proudly.
Over the past two years, special classes for disabled young adults opened by Jacqueline have operated efficiently, providing basic knowledge of life for orphans with disabilities who are over 18 years old.
To maintain assistance to children, she persuaded her friends and volunteers to set up a fund for this humanitarian activity. She also plans to upgrade infrastructure and purchase more medical equipment for the centre. In coming months, two disabled orphans of the centre will be financed to undergo cleft palate surgical operations in Ho Chi Minh City.
The centre, currently home to 65 orphans, has spared no effort to help the children get access to schooling. Many of them have been offered chances to further their studies at colleges or junior colleges. Also, the orphanage has provided the children with on-the-job training courses to equip them with special skills.
The centre’s staff of 26 includes both local and foreign volunteers. Many international tourists have also voluntarily provided the children with help.
In order to help to bring better living conditions to the children, frequent support from donors and volunteers like Jacqueline Louise Wrafter are needed, said the centre’s director Trinh Thi Bich Thu