Our program at Nguyen Shack – Can Tho aims to help abandoned children receive an education and get a head start in life. We cover school fees and food for six young children living in the village pagoda. You can meet the children at the pagoda on the bicycle tour that we run daily.
These children were left by their parents at the pagoda. All of the children were found in the pagoda yard at only one or two days old, early in the morning, because their parents wanted to remain anonymous. In Vietnam, it is not socially acceptable for unmarried women to have children. This societal pressure causes some young women to abandon their infants. It is possible that the parents of these women could banish them from the family home and it may be difficult for them to marry in the future.
The pagoda is always open to everyone. Food and accommodation are offered to anyone in need of help. To give and to receive is at the heart of Buddhism – no matter how little or how much you have, you share what you have and you receive what is offered. The pagoda survives on donations of food and money from the local community. People from the community bring what they can to the pagoda – money, rice, corn, potatoes. Unfortunately, the community does not have much, so the pagoda often struggles to care for the children.
Nguyen Shack has a large garden and we often bring vegetables from the garden to the pagoda for the children. Many of our guests have donated money, school supplies, and clothes.