Imagine leaving your village for a harsh life in a big city with no job.
Imagine your daughter cannot attend school because you are an immigrant.
Imagine your son is not accepted into school because he has no birth certificate.
Imagine your family returns each day to a hospital to sleep because it is free.
Outrageous? Nonetheless, more than 11,000 Vietnamese street children are working and living in Ho Chi Minh City. Most of them go to bed each night hungry and despondent. Street children have fallen through society’s cracks – there are few ladders for them to climb back up. They are invariably malnourished, receive minimal education, medical treatment, and are involved in child labor from an early age. They live as their parents did and as their own children are likely to live in an endless cycle.
This shocking reality is the reason Friends For Street Children Association (FFSC) was established with a goal of integrating into society these children, who are human beings at the edge of losing themselves. Founded by Mr. Thomas Tran Van Soi in 1984, FFSC operates without any discrimination on the basis of race, religion or ethnic origin. We believe that children are citizens in their own right and are entitled to the full spectrum of human rights.
At FFSC, we truly believe in the power of education. Only an adequate education can pull a child out of the cruel destiny that awaits him/her. Our strategy is not only about helping the current street children, but also about preventing children from being street children. In addition to offering warm shelters, nutrition, and medical care, we enroll children in development classes in an attempt to provide them the education they deserve. We believe in a comprehensive approach to development, which promotes not only intellectual education but also emotional education. We provide training for the parents to raise their awareness of the importance of their children’s education and to equip them with the necessary soft skills in family life. Through these efforts, we strive to prevent these disadvantaged children from being caught in the web of social evils that surround them.
In our nearly 30 years working with the street children in our city, FFSC has grown from one model development center to the current seven development centers and one social enterprise. We currently serve more than 1,100 children and their families in different neighborhoods throughout Ho Chi Minh City. However, our efforts are still relatively diminutive when compared to the number of street and disadvantaged children in the city. To achieve our mission, we welcome all the support from individuals and groups with visions similar to ours whether as partners, sponsors, volunteers or simply friends providing material and spiritual support.
Vision & Mission
FFSC envisions that:
– Children are human beings who should be valued and respected.
– Healthy and happy children will develop into active and productive adults integrated in their family, community and society.
Provide care and education for street children while raising community awareness of the problems these children face:
– Enable children access to education and health care and empower them to make their own life decisions.
– Raise awareness of the importance of children’s education and care within their families and community.
– Provide family services as a means to improve overall living conditions.
– Provide shelters for displaced children while working to integrate them into their family and society.
We are consistent and transparent in our work. We build reliable relationships among our staff and volunteers and with our partners and sponsors.
We enjoy cooperating with different organizations, companies and individuals. We respect the contribution of each individual.
We work to not only fulfill the children’s basic needs but also to give them love, care and encouragement.
We welcome the support and friendship from all over the world. We are open-minded to suggestions on how to improve the work we do to support the mission of FFSC.
Despite the difficulties we have encountered in carrying out our mission, we are dedicated to our vision. We are determined to continue our mission until every child has the opportunity to access to adequate care and education he or she deserves as a human being.
Education & recreational activities
– For children who do not have access to the mainstream education system, FFSC provides elementary level education with the goal of integrating them into public schools.
– For children who can attend public schools and university but who are unable to afford the cost, FFSC provides financial support to education and basic living expenses.
– Recreational and group activities are offered to promote children’s creativity and necessary skills.
Health Care and psycho-social protection
Health and dental checks are carried out by volunteers and basic treatment is provided. Training sessions on health issues, life values, and life skills are conducted for children, families, our teachers and volunteers.
Warm Shelter for children in need
FFSC provides accommodation, food and learning facilities for homeless, displaced or distressed children while working to reintegrate them into their families and/or society.
FFSC runs a guesthouse and a handicraft workshop to provide an income for disadvantaged women. All proceeds fund FFSC activities.
|1984 – 2004: Mr. Tran Van Soi founded FFSC Association and served as Director.
|Initial one year project of charity class was started at 25 Thach Thi Thanh, Ward 4, District 1.
|Expanded the project and opened the Tan Dinh Development Center at 27A/1 Nguyen Huu Canh, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
|Two new centers were opened. Thu Thiem Development Centers located at 76, quarter 1, Thu Thiem Ward, District 2 and Phu Tho Development Center at 265A Le Dai Hanh, Ward 15, District 11.
|The fifth center, Pham Van Hai Development Center was started in Binh Chanh District.
|FFSC Headquarters opened at 204/39 National Road No. 13, Ward 26, Binh Thanh District.
|Established Binh Trieu Development Center at 30B/1, Binh Trieu Quarter, Hiep Binh Chanh Ward, Thu Duc District.
|Le Minh Xuan Development Center was established at A8-11, quarter 8, Le Minh Xuan Ward, Binh Chanh Distric – suburb of Ho Chi Minh City.
|Binh Hung Development Center was established at 24/9, National Road No. 50, Binh Hung Ward, Binh Chanh District.
|Tan Huong Development Center was established at 77, quarter 5, Phuoc Long B ward, District 9.
|Tan Dinh Development separated from FFSC Association due to its maturity.
|FFSC Headquarter moved to 140/97 (currently 140/4) Vo Thi Sau, ward 8, district 3. This is the property of Mr. Tran Van Soi, FFSC founder lending to FFSC for its activities.
|FFSC Association began to officially operate under Catholic Committee in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam with a system of development classes, vocational trainings and warm shelter.
|FFSC started a small vocational workshop at 30B/1, Binh Trieu Quarter, Hiep Binh Chanh Ward, Thu Duc District.
|Tan Phu Development Center was established at Tan Phu District. In 2000, this Center separated from FFSC Association due to its maturity.
|Binh Tho Development Center was established at 27, Road No. 9, quarter 1, Binh Tho ward, Thu Duc District.
|Phu Tho development Center separated from FFSC Association.
|2003 – 2004
|Pham Van Hai Development Center and Le Minh Xuan Development Center stopped activities for one year due to the reformed policy of the local governments.
|2005 – now: Sr. Le Thi Thao took over the role of Directress of FFSC Association.
|Binh An Development Center was established at 2287 (now 3153/24) Pham The Hien, ward 7, District 8.
|Tu Xuong Development Center was established at 15 Tu Xuong, ward 7, District 3.
|Binh Hung Development Center separated from FFSC Association due to its capacity to stand by itself.
|The small vocational workshop expanded to a FFSC Factory.
|Le Minh Xuan Development Center stopped offering classes but continued the scholarship program because of local government’s policy. The director also supports the Pham Van Hai Development Center.
|DotCom Hy Vong Project was established at 69 Phan Huy Ich, ward 15, Tan Binh District.
|Tan Huong discontinued classes, but has continued the scholarship program for children and students with the same reason of governmental permission.
|FFSC opened a Guesthouse at the FFSC Headquarters as an economic source for its social activities.
|FFSC Factory moved to 3153/24 Pham The Hien, ward 6, District 8.
|Tu Xuong Development Center and DotCom Hy Vong separated from FFSC Association because their capacities to manage these activities.
|FFSC Factory was named FFSC Social Enterprise.
|FFSC new website officially launched.