Bao was born into a family of farmers outside the mountainous city of Da Lat in Southern Vietnam. He was only seven-years-old when his mother died unexpectedly from a heart attack. She was sole provider for the family as Bao’s father had a physical disability limiting his mobility. With no one to provide for Bao and his three older siblings, their neighbours stepped in to help. They provided the children with basic food and assistance for a short period but were unable to continue.
After hearing about SOS Children’s Village Da Lat, their next-door neighbour drove into the city to speak with the Villages’ officials. He asked if Bao and his siblings could live at the Village with the other orphaned and abandoned children from the surrounding area.
“This was an extremely happy event not only for his family but also the entire neighbourhood. The kind-hearted neighbour cried tears of happiness and said ‘If I won a lottery, I wouldn’t be as happy as I am now’,” says another of Bao’s neighbour.
The Da Lat Village provides loving homes to up to 140 vulnerable children. Here, children have access to an SOS nursery, a youth facility, medical centre and SOS Primary School and SOS Secondary School.
Since arriving Bao has adapted to his new life in the Village. Today, Bao is in grade eight at the SOS school. He works hard in school and takes part in extra-curricular activities and loves dancing. He was recently awarded as one of the best students in his class. As a result of his high distinction in school, he was chosen to participate in a summer camp and football championship.
“I am so happy and proud of Bao. He has such a large heart and accepts everyone for who they are. He is an amazing student and son,” says his SOS mother.
Bao knows exactly what he wants to be when grows up: “I want to be a construction engineer because I want to build loving homes for other people,” he says proudly.
A few months ago, his SOS family held a surprise birthday party for him. When Bao returned home from school he was shocked to see his family and friends from the Village gathered in the house. A home-made birthday cake with candles and delicious icing was placed on the kitchen table. His mother, sisters, brothers and friends all stood around the table and sang ‘happy birthday’ to him. His family prepared a special birthday dinner for the family, and after they all payed games together well into the evening.
This was the first time Bao celebrated birthday. “Home is the place where my birthdays are celebrated. I never knew how a birthday is celebrated and now I will never forget it,” says Bao.
Thanks to generous sponsors, SOS Children is able to not only provide safe homes for vulnerable and orphan children, but also ensure that children like Bao enjoy a normal childhood. Find out more about our work in Vietnam here.