Vietnam Volunteer Project

Update posted by Nellie Krastel On Apr 04, 2013

Ba Vi Orphanage/Disability Program (North)

The two Orphanages are located in the picturesque Ba Vi province approximately 50kms from Hanoi. Ba Vi is a true delight with its mountain range and the flat lands for the farming of rice and various other fruits and vegetables. The centers are only 10kms from Son Tay a medium sized town with all modern amenities and a deep cultural history. Hanoi is close by and only about a 90 minute bus ride to the middle of the city.
The centers not only cater for children but also for the homeless of Hanoi and those that are experiencing real difficulties in their lives.

Centre No 1: Ba Vi Orphanage
also caters for some elderly residents who have no family or home to go to. Such a variety of people will give the volunteer a real insight into what life can be like for some in Vietnam. Volunteers will teach English to the kids at center No 1 but can be meaningfully occupied with other activities and tasks that the centre has a need for. This may include gardening, painting, and helping staff with cooking or cleaning the area.
There are approximately 360 people at the centre and the children attend the local school, some in the morning, and others in the afternoon. Volunteers will teach the home group and take time to plan lessons for the other group.

Centre No 2: Ba Vi Orphanage/Rehabilitation Centre
This centre has almost 200 children with a range of disabilities from hearing impairment, slight intellectual disabilities, to Autism. They are a wonderful group of children and enjoy the company that is provided by the volunteers, helping them with their art work, embroidery and other rehabilitation activities. As with the other centre volunteers should be prepared to get their hands dirty and assist staff where ever assistance is required.

Centre No 3: Ba Vi Orphanage/Disability Centre

This centre is the primary focus for volunteers at the moment, and is a large centre for children and young people with disabilities. It also has a number of older residents that have no family or means of income. There is also a nursery for babies without disabilities. Volunteers can engage in a number of activities here including rehabilitiation, if skilled enough, teaching English, art therapy, helping with caring and many physical activities if you would like to engage in them, such as gardening, painting, repairing. There is a major staff shortage here.

Volunteers will be accompanied for the first 2 days at the guest house and the centre by a staff member to ensure that they settle in well to the program and are comfortable in the environment. There may also be onsite accommodation available at centre No 2, but volunteers will be placed at the centre that is available at the time, and will be told in advance of the accommodation availability. 

Activities for the volunteers will be determined by the volunteers skill set and physical ability. VIVPS and the director of the Orphanage will sit with the volunteer on the first day and arrange a schedule.

Hanoi Friendship Village (North)

The Disabled Children’s Village Project was initiated in 1988 by George Mizo, an American Vietnam veteran, and subsequently created in collaboration with Vietnamese and French veterans who shared his desire for peace and reconciliation. In the following years many people from different countries joined, and today an international committee with representatives from the USA, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and Vietnam works to finance and manage the  Village.

The village provides medical care, physical therapy, education and vocational training for 100-120 children with a variety of mental and physical conditions. About 40 adults at a time also receive residential treatment services. Since opening its doors in 1998, the village has grown in capacity, now caring for 150 individuals or more at any one time, as well as providing services to the surrounding community.

Located about 15 kilometres southwest of central Hanoi, the village today has more than nine family-style residences providing housing for girls and boys and their housemothers as well as special housing for severely disabled children. Other buildings house administrative offices, a medical clinic, a kitchen and dining hall, vocational studios, and educational facilities including a computer classroom. There are organic fruit and vegetable gardens, a medicinal herb garden, fishponds and farm animals.

Change is a key concept at the village. The children grow, learn and respond well to good nutrition and various therapies, while facilities and programs are constantly improved and refined to best meet their needs.

The village mission is to cultivate reconciliation and heal the wounds of the Vietnam War by uniting veterans and caring citizens through international cooperation in the building and support of the Village of Friendship, a living symbol of peace.

Volunteers will have limited opportunities to teach English and will be mainly be engaged in helping the children with other activities that the children have the ability to carry out, such as craft, art, embroidery, computer skills, and assisting the children their movements and rehabilitation. There is also a very large organic farm at the village that provides up to 60% of the center’s produce. Volunteers will be given the opportunity to work in the garden and to assist in other physical activities if the volunteer has the capacity to do so.




Binh Tan Orphanage (South)

The Orphanage was established in 1995 by Ms Cu. She decided to build a house where she could receive and help children and mothers who needed help. At that time, there were 20 children living together in a 65 sq meter house. The conditions were very uncomfortable, but in spite of the difficulties Ms Cu pressed on and now there are 55 children at the orphanage. During the past 15 years Ms Cu has had to get by with contributions from family and friends, as there have been no regular major donors. In addition to the regular help of family the orphanage has some visitors who occasionally help them to buy food, clothes, books and other necessities. 

In 1993 a generous Italian man gave her VND 12.500.000 (USD 800) to buy a piece of land, on which the current orphanage is located. In 1994 they began the building of a small 64 square meter house that would eventually accommodate the first 20 children. In 2004, they built a three storey house next to the old one. The money to do this was partly funded by the Abbey Ms Chu formerly lived at, and the rest was funded by various family members.

The Orphanage is currently sheltering 30 boys and 28 girls from 8 months old and above. The facility for the orphans has been gradually changed from a 64 sq house into a three storey one; however it is hardly a place sufficiently able to lodge 58 children. The children share space on two levels of the house for sleeping, primarily on mats, as beds are a luxury item they cannot afford for all.

The second Orphanage was founded in 1998 by a beautiful lady named Phan Thien Don who made her living collecting rubbish and selling to recyclers. Although her lot was hard she always saw children with more need. She began taking some babies and children home to care for them and with the help of family members and donors, as Ms Cu had done, she found herself operating an orphanage, although she sheltered children for a number of years it was not until 2011 that she finally gained registration to officially operate as an orphanage.

Both orphanage programs have approximately 60 children and volunteers may have an opportunity to teach a little English but come to the programs in caring roles and should be prepared to help staff with any tasks they are allocated. While these programs have many needs their primary source of frustration is a lack of staff.

VIVPS now has two orphanage programs in Binh Tan District and volunteers will be allocated a centre based upon volunteer numbers and need of the centres.

Activities: Teaching some English to the children, generally helping staff and other volunteers with caring duties at the Orphanage. Volunteers should not be concerned about getting their hands dirty as the staff really appreciates help with the cleaning, cooking and feeding.

Location: Ho Chi Minh City




Ky Quang Pagoda (Ho Chi Minh City)

Ky Quang Temple protects the disabled, weak-sighted, mentally-handicapped or street inhabitants, supports their daily lives and gives them opportunities of education. At Ky Quang II Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh City  Venerable Thich Thien Chieu, with the support of monks, nuns and lay Buddhists, supports almost 300 hundred orphaned children including children orphaned by AIDS, as well as physically and mentally handicapped orphans.

The temple also has a school for sight-impaired children and a free clinic serving the local area.

The pagoda is located out of the city centre of Ho Chi Minh City so any volunteer who ventures here will have a truly Cultural experience. A small amount of English is spoken at the Pagoda and  VIVPS also has in a place local national volunteers to provide language support when needed

The Monks are very willing to impart their knowledge of the Vietnamese language and the Buddhist way of life. This program will provide a truly wonderful experience to any volunteer who dares to venture this way. The Buddhist way is one of giving and sharing and life at the Pagoda is an enriching experience.

Activities: Teaching English should not be your primary motivation for joining this program as there is much to do outside of that area, assisting with the children with disabilities, arranging activities for all children, utilising special skills that you may bring with you, and basically just being prepared to get your hands dirty with any tasks that normal staff may do.

Location: outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City







Centre for Nurturing Impaired Orphans (South)

The centre cares for 320 children who have Cerebral Palsy, Brady Genesis and Mental Disabilities. Most of the children were left in hospitals and on the streets, 60% of the children here have cerebral palsy - so they are unable to take care of themselves.

There is simply not enough staff to care for the number of children in this centre. On a day shift, in each room there are usually 4 to 6 people taking care of 32 to 40 children on average. On night shift, there are usually only 1 to 3 people in each room.

The work of the care-takers besides feeding/bathing the children, is training the children to be self-reliant in activities such as: using a spoon to feed, changing clothes, and going to the toilet.

The majority of children here have cerebral palsy so they don't have the ability to maintain their person hygiene. Thanks to the great efforts of staff, the children and the rooms are clean and tidy.

The Centre's mission statement:

  • Providing care
  • Providing rehabilitation and treatment
  • Providing education and training
  • Help these children to rejoin society.

NB: There are some cases in which visitors feel afraid, shocked, sad, emotional or overwhelmed by the orphans here, and have uncontrollable inappropriate reactions. The Centre management hopes volunteers will prepare themselves mentally before coming here so they can be open-minded and accept the children as they are.

Although the children have mental and physical disabilities, they are still human beings with feelings of their own. Moreover, they are orphans who lack family support, so they can be emotionally unstable and they really need to be communicated with and to be loved by other people. The way they show their emotions may not be easily understood, but deep inside they all long for acceptance and care from the people around them.

Volunteers would normally come to the centre between the hours of 8.00am – 10.30am and 2.00pm – 4.00pm. We would encourage volunteers to go the extra mile and help with cooking and feeding time, this is emotionally difficult and is at the discretion of volunteers and management. Activities include playing and talking with the children, taking them to the playground area and generally just having fun with them, these beautiful children just need to know that someone cares. Volunteers may also help with rehabilitation; again this depends upon the volunteer’s skill level and the centre management.


Add a Comment

Update posted by Nellie Krastel On Mar 14, 2013

Our Vision

Our vision is to support the work of local community organizations in developing countries through the placement of international volunteers. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.

Volunteering is a great way to contribute to the global community and gain experience, and also fosters personal growth.

Whether you would like to take a short volunteer vacation or a prolonged volunteer experience, the Global Volunteer Network provides challenging and affordable international programs.

Our Beginnings

Colin Salisbury, its Founder and Executive Director, launched the Global Volunteer Network (GVN) in December 2000, after spending time volunteering in Ghana, West Africa. While he was there he saw the tremendous difference volunteers could make in helping local organizations achieve their goals. Upon returning to New Zealand he spent some time researching the different volunteer organizations around the world and was amazed at how expensive and limiting many programs were in terms of volunteer opportunities.

Colin has extensive volunteer experience both locally and internationally with time spent in Ecuador, Ghana, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand. His background in Community Development and achieving a Masters in International Development has enabled him to provide challenging and affordable volunteer opportunities around the globe.

Our Status

The GVN Charitable Trust is a registered non-profit, Non Government Organization (NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our registration number is CC46460.

What We Do

GVN currently has volunteer positions available through our partner organisations in Cambodia, China, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Kenya, Nepal, Panama, Peru, the Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, USA, and Vietnam.

GVN volunteers work in orphanages, schools, animal shelters, nature reserves and villages in the following areas: teaching, medical, HIV/AIDS awareness, community development, women’s empowerment, caring for children, wildlife conservation, environmental conservations, building and infrastructure construction.

GVN has volunteers from all over the world who apply for our programs online. Over the past 9 years the Global Volunteer Network have built up strong ties with grassroots organizations throughout the world, and placed over 14,500 volunteers.Program Fees

We aim to keep our fees to a minimum in order to make our opportunities accessible. The program fees volunteers pay will go to many different aspects of the program they participate in. These include the basic necessities volunteers will need in their host country such as transportation, food, and accommodation; project development and capacity building for our partner organizations; and administration, marketing, insurance, 24-hour communication, and other services provided by GVN. GVN currently has a staff of over 15 people who answer over 400 emails a day.

Please visit our website for more details about cost breakdowns and the benefits of volunteering with GVN.

The Global Volunteer Network Foundation

The GVN Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization in the United States. Our goal is to provide grants to local partner organizations working with women, children, and the environment. The GVN Foundation allows former GVN volunteers to remain connected to their projects through fundraising and also allows people who can’t volunteer to support our projects through donations. Our main annual fundraiser is Eat So They Can, where something as simple as sharing a meal with friends can change lives.

For more information about the Global Volunteer Network please visit:

Add a Comment


good luck with your project :D

Gumuruh Sabar. PJ

Posted On Jan 10, 2014



Backed with $40.00 On Dec 29, 2013


Poppa George & Mr. Fred

Backed with $200.00 On Sep 30, 2013


Faith & Rob Goldberg

Backed with $200.00 On Sep 30, 2013


Such a small person with the biggest heart and doing great things.. you're so amazing. Good luck and come back in one piece, thanks!


Backed On Sep 28, 2013 Amount Hidden


Yard sale

Backed with $400.00 On Sep 28, 2013


Good Luck with your project!!

J. Streett Broadbent

Backed On Sep 23, 2013 Amount Hidden


Best of luck to you and God Bless.

Lisa Peri-Hill

Backed On Sep 22, 2013 Amount Hidden


Sharon Gaffney

Backed with $100.00 On Sep 22, 2013


Ms. L D'Onofrio

Backed with $50.00 On Sep 22, 2013

Add a Comment


Nellie Krastel

flag Kingsville, US

send a message

No Followers Just Yet...

Not Ready to Donate?

Did you know a 10 second Facebook share raises an average of $25?

Share on