Australian charity marks 15 years in Vietnam

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Charity organization Loreto Vietnam-Australia Program celebrated its 15th anniversary Sunday.

The organization, whose slogan is "lifting learners into the future", has over the years supported tens of thousands of disadvantaged children southern Vietnam.

Its CEO, Trish Franklin, said: "Exactly 15 years ago the Loreto Vietnam-Australia Program had just finished constructing and equipping a two-classroom campus of Vo Van Thang Primary School in Hoc Mon District our very first project.

"At that time, I thought that Loreto had built a palace. Which of course we had for the treasured community of Nhi Binh Village. That little school of Vo Van Thang is still my most precious memory of the projects which the Loreto Program has carried out over the past 15 years.

"Each year since then we have supported two [1st grade] classes at Vo Van Thang School with school packs, scholarships, uniforms, bicycles, and other educational necessities."

Tran Thi Thu Thuy, deputy chairwoman of the People's Aid Coordinating Committee, which is responsible for relations with INGOs and mobilizing aid, said: "Since 1997 the Loreto Program has worked closely with authorized Vietnamese agencies and partners to implement projects in education and training, providing support for disabled and poor children. Around 25,000 children have benefited."

Deputy chairman the Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship Organizations, Phung Cong Dung, said: "Over the past 15 years the Loreto Program has been involved in different projects in the city like helping to build schools, equipping computer rooms, providing swimming pool equipment, scholarships, bicycles and school packs, and has provided school fees for poor kids.

"LVAP has been teaching English to teachers and students at Nguyen Dinh Chieu School for the Blind, Binh Minh (Sunrise) Special School.

"Financial support from the Loreto Program has reached more than US$1 million."

Dung said that such projects have made it possible for many children to go to school and have access to information technology.

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