Friar Hoang Van Binh
Tel:(848) 9902079

Taking care of disabled children, orphans,
old people with no relatives
469/17C Nguyen Kiem
9. Ward - Phu Nhuan district
Ho Chi Minh City - Vietnam
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Pink Manger

This is a small house in an alley on the Nguyen Kiem Rd in Phu Nhuan district.
I call it the pink manger from an abandoned brain damage new born infant to a drug addict lying on the sidewalk, with tuberculosis, waiting for his time to come.
In Nga Ba Ong Ta… Everyone has a sorrowful story of their life, but each have a good ending, where they can live their life.
Author: Le Huu Tuan

Through several people, I was told that 50 people were abandoned. I decided to seek the home of Hoang Van Binh. He was a 46-year-old man whose main source of income was cycling people to their destinations, like a taxi only instead used a cyclo.
Without making an appointment, I went to the house and found that a funeral was taking place there. The funeral was for a woman named Hieu aged 80. 2 years ago, she was taken in from the streets and was clothed and fed.
You could hear the prayers and weeping of Hoang Van Binh’s family. No one would have known that this woman had no relatives. Binh was very busy with the funeral, so he made me an appointment sometime after the funeral. I had many visitations to centres, but it was the first time I saw a man taking care of the elderly and disabled. He has helped the underprivileged and abandoned people for 16 years with one purpose, to help them. He found that looking after these people were fulfilling, but trying to find enough money and medication to support them was hard.
16 years ago, Binh was studying at Don Bosco in a teaching’s course.

After 1975, he rode the cyclo to earn money. During his cycloing, he had the opportunity to converse with the elderly and with children. One night during a storm, he found an old man with an addiction to drugs that was cast out on the streets. Binh brought the man home and looked after him. He found that looking after the old man had fulfilled him in some way, it had given him a sense of happiness, not only this it had also given a new friend.
From then, Binh believed that bread and butter was only a short-term solution. In the long run it is much better to get these people back on their feet and become a useful member of society. Not only did he think about these matters but acted. Not so long after, he started adopting children with disabilities, both mentally and physically, as well as orphans.

All were found, and brought home, from street corners, alleyways, etc. During work, he often begged for food, vegetables and sometimes fish, to nourish his ever growing famished family. Coming home from work Binh does his charitable work; he bathes and washes the abandoned orphan children. A complete stranger takes on the role of a loving caring mother. Something these children have longed for throughout their lives. From dusk till dawn Binh does not stop working, either cycloing to earn money as well as looking after his family. Although he is always tired, his heart is always filled with the joy as he fells that working a little extra can make such a big difference in other people’s lives.
Fortunately, not only does he have to do this alone. His biological family encourages and supports Binh. Binh’s house became crowded after he began taking people in, and so with the help of his parents they built a new house beside the old to accommodate the new family.

As the new home was a lot larger than the old Binh decided to hire people to work for him under these circumstances. People who saw Binh’s missionary work felt touched and moved by his work and wanted to donate some money to help him.
Four years later, the home once again became very crowded and uncomfortable. A man decided to sell Binh a land beside the river, Binh Trieu, at a discounted price. By himself, Binh built a new large house to accommodate his ever expanding family, within a deadline of 4 months. All furniture was donated and he began to transfer the children and the elderly to this new house. This third house accommodated 50 people, 33 of whom were handicapped children and 17 were the elderly ranging from 70 to 92 years.

Past and future

As mentioned in the above paragraph, everyone in Binh’s "BIG FAMILY" had a past story, before Binh all changed their lives. These stories are emotionally heart touching, as you will see for yourself.
Nguyen Thi Tuat (82 years) is an educated women as she can speak French fluently, and once a French teacher. Strangely she had no relatives left as many disappeared during the Vietnam War. She took shelter in an abandoned temple and made it home. This lasted for 40 years, living isolated and lonely. The only way to survive was to tutor children living in the district in French. All her hard work only paid a small amount which was that they provided food for her.
As if things weren’t difficult enough her. One day she fainted . Her students rushed her to the hospital and tried to save her. This resulted in her becoming paraplegic. Binh heard of this and has taken her in his home for the past two years. With Binh compassion and care for her, she is on the road to recovery. She can now walk with the assistance of a cane around the house and look after a couple of plants. She shows that her life now is very happy.

Nguyen Thi Suong 91 years old. Since 1954 till before Binh change her life, she live alone and was homeless living on the streets. A few year ago she fainted on the streets . A witness saw this and reported to Binh . He recruited her in to his family and made her feel "wanted" again. Now she is a healthy elderly.
Tran Ngoc Diep-From 1975 he has been a street vendor. He once again like Nguyen Thi Suong and Nguyen Thi Tuat has no family and is homeless.
This story is similar to Nguyen Thi Tuat fainted on the sidewalk and was rushed to hospital. It turns out he is paraplegic. A doctor reported this to Binh and now he is a member of a family. He now is a happy person as he has a happy compassionate family.
A frail old lady call Hieu died within her time of this wonderful family. She was buried at a decent funeral.

The emotional story of the children.

Hoang Nhan Duc. This name was given to an orphan boy by Binh. It is obviously this boy feels lonely, unsure and confused of his identification but these feelings were he belonged and who he is (Binh’s family). Hoang Nhan Duc is now approximately 13 years old and legs are paralysed. Before meeting Binh he relied on rummaging through market rubbish as a source of food.

Hoang Nhat Tam is a 16 year old boy, who is in a terrible figure as he does not have enough nourishment for his body to grow. He is 16 years old but looks like a 10 year old. Not only this but he is also mentally ill but this didn’t stop Binh from adopting him.

Hoang Sinh Thuong is paraplegic and in a coma. When she was born her parents found that she was ill and placed her in front of Binh’s house. He has raised her for 6 years.

Hoang Anh Sao was abandoned on Christmas night. Binh found Anh Sao and named her after the state Binh found Anh Sao, under the stars.
All the children that are mentally, physically disabled are taught at home. All children that are well are allowed to go to school.

Binh supports the children’s future, as he believes education will change the way the world goes round. Binh finds providing education for the children is difficult as he has to find money for the school fees. The children take advantage of such a wonderful opportunity and work hard to get good grades.
Very often the children are kicked out of school because they have not paid the school fees. Very often the have to sell their own food to get enough money for the children’s education. Through these difficult circumstances the children strive to excel in their school work and they are doing very well. Now there is 3 children in a year 12 ,1 child in a year 11 , 4 children in year 6-9 and a some in a primary school.

Especially, Nguyen Thi Le (older sister). Binh has adopted 16 years ago .She is now a final year graduate of accounting in university.

In the family, all the older washes clothes, washes dishes, cook and teaches the younger siblings. Though, they are not blood relatives they treat each other like they are true brother and sister.
Binh says with the mentally challenged children, they will never get a chance to see the world which is a shame as they will need Binh to look after them.
In conclusion, I will tell you a story about Ms Muoi.
She is a woman living in poverty but amazingly she saves US $5-10 per month to help the children, she saves up extra money to buy Anh Sao milk .This is done instead of using the cyclo (cyclic transportation) to visit the centre, where she walks the whole 3 Km. Binh tell us that with such encouragement it boosts up his energy to continue this charity work.
Overall we should not take thing for granted even little or essential things, as many others their stories and situations are different.

Other pages about Family Te Phan
Pitures about Family Te Phan      (posted on 12.10.2002)