Events, or accounts of events, often drive my focus. I’ve always said context is important. With it you can better understand the human values at play in a given circumstance. When I heard about an orphanage for disabled kids in central Vietnam and the story behind it the thought “Must help…!” was evoked. Not that we don’t have orphans living with disability here in Australia. But I happen to know someone who got caught up ‘in the whole thing’. He’s Lithuanian, has a huge knowledge of  Australian indigenous history, and now has decided to help out in Vietnam.

Visitors here and friends know that I’ve spent a some time attempting to support local community here in Australia. Focusing on Canberra was driven by the idea of ‘get your own house in order first’. With homeless and poor, those in need, in significant numbers in my home city the direction of my civic duty is clear enough. Spending the time that I have in the community service sector has taught me a few things about spotting projects that have hope and those that, while well intentioned, are likely not to make it. Some people have a conscious or sub-conscious drive, focus, that can be clear to see. It’s less about commitment and more simply about being configured in a certain way. Sometimes, rarely it seems, a particular configuration of idiosyncrasies of an individual  match with a collective need and social ability is created. Financial, political and social structures, so intertwined, can be massaged at the same time and in a certain way to produce a progressive outcome. In this case the status quo is being challenged by a small group of dedicated people in Australia. The view is to improve the living conditions for a group of orphans living with cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness and psychiatric problems in Vietnam. At the same time they will provide scholarships for education to the women that provide the care to the orphans. A remote association driven by immediate and local needs isn’t a new way of operating and in the past impressive outcomes have been the result. The ideas from this group seem clear enough to me, the level of detail and research that has gone into forming the project is sensible and at many levels impressive. Most importantly the goals are achievable!

That’s why I am proud to announce the launch of Friends of Huong Phuong Orphanage Inc’s website: