Volunteering in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam

This post aims to provide some info for foreigners want to volunteer in HCMc, Vietnam.
It has two main contents: charity organizations in Vietnam and how to apply to volunteer or donate here.

I. Charity organizations in HCMc:

There are around 100 or more orphanages and charity organizations (COs) in HCMc, Vietnam.
(Based on information I found on internet, although many of them, the contact information aren’t updated)
And followings are info of some COs  I updated by myself as of May, 2015.

1. Dieu Giac Orphanage. (Nhà tình thương Diệu Giác).

Address: 177 Trần Não, Phường Bình An, Quận 2, Sài Gòn – TP HCM, Việt Nam

No. 177, Tran Nao street, Binh An ward, District 2, Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.

Their FB page: https://www.facebook.com/dieugiacq2

Contact person: Female monk Hien.      Phone no: (84) 090.853.3988.       Email: tinhhien70@yahoo.com

I went there to help a Japanese American to find some info for her dental supplies donation activity by the end of July.

Dieu Giac orphanage belongs to Dieu Giac pagoda. They are raising 96 children, different age. (From kindergarten to high school. From one years old to 16 years old). Male and female are quite equivalent. Beside children, there are around 64 people: monks, staffs, cooks.

In weekdays, they study in public schools, so if someone want to organize an activity, the best time is weekend. (But you/we need to inform them first to see if it will be available in that date, or other organization booked it.) Monk Hien said, it’s better to organize on Saturday(s) since normally Sundays many other people (specially, university students) come to play with the children. It’s better to organize between 8am to 10:30am since the children have  (early) lunch on 10:30am.

I asked her if any similar activity happened before (dental workshop). She said yes, there was some medical students came and examined teeth for children and if any of them has teeth problem, they will be sent to hospital.

The children here are being sent to public schools to study. The orphanage pays for their tuition fee.

Sometimes there were someone came to teach them English. They were very enthusiastic at first, but then they disappeared after 2,3 times. The orphanage understands that they have their own life, but it makes the children not focus, since it happens, they think that they just study for fun. So the orphanage expects if someone offer to teach, please commit to teach for long time.

She suggested another option: helping a school in Hue province. The female monks there already have a school for children. But too small, lacking of many things (include space) so when the children come more, they aren’t able to accommodate. The children there are 3-4 years old, mostly stay home and study with the monks. They don’t get lots of supports as in big cities. She gave me phone no of Female monk Dung (the monk in charge there).

2. Tổ ấm Ánh sáng nữ (Female Light home) in District 10.

It is managed by Unit of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs of District 10 (under DLWS)

Email maiamanhsangnu@gmai.com  Phone no: 0838659135

They are raising 20 female children (age from 6 to 18). The children study in elementary, secondary, high school or vocational school. There are 5 staffs there.

I talked with Ms. Nhung (age 25). Email: maithinhung86@gmail.com

She said if we want to do the volunteering activity there, good time is 9am – 11am or 2pm – 4pm of Sunday(s).

3. Mái ấm Ánh Sáng: an orphanage for around 25 male children (from 6-17 years old).

Almost children here are orphans or were abandoned by their parents.

Address: 80/76 Tran Quang Dieu street, Ward 14, District 3, HCMc.

80/76, đường Trần Quang Diệu, phường 14, Quận 3, TPHCM.

Landline: (84) 08 3931 3837

Contact person: Mr. Nhat. His cellphone no: (84) 0945 147 148

Email: maiamanhsangq3@yahoo.com.vn

4. Mái ấm Quận 8- Children’s House

Address: 73/10 Duong Ba Trac Street, Ward 1, Dist 8, HCMc.
73/10 đường Dương Bá Trạc, phường 1, Quận 8, TPHCM.

Tel: (+84 8) 38 50 20 88
Contact person: Nguyen Tri LINH
Mobile : (+84) 909 94 87 91
Email: linhtrin@yahoo.com

5. Mái ấm Bình Minh:

Address: 108 Đường Số 06, Phường 4, Quận 4

No. 108, Road no. 06, Ward 4, District 4

Landline: 08.3940.1316

Ms. Mai is the “Mommy” of 18 female children, age from 5-15 years old.

Contact person: Ms. Le Dang Anh.

Phone no: 0122.768.8809. Email: binhminhq4@gmail.com

6. Làng Thiếu Niên Thủ Đức

​an orphanage which locates at ​no. ​18 Võ Văn Ngân street​, Trường Thọ ward​, Thủ Đức district​, HCMc​

số 18 đường Võ Văn Ngân, Trường Thọ, huyện Thủ Đức, TPHCM.

I got there by bus: from grand bus terminal opposite to Ben Thanh market, ride bus no. 56, tell the driver drop you there, and walk few steps.

Phone no:​ 08 38970005

​Contact person: Ms. Vo Thuy Linh. Cellphone:​ 0938212932. Her email: vothuylinh83@gmail.com​)

Ms. Chau. Cellphone: 090909.7246. Email: hoasenvn9@gmail.com

Currently, they have more than 160 children.

They divide the children into 3 groups:

– Babies (from 0-3 years old): around 60, live in nursery house, being taking care by 30 nannies.

The 30 nannies work in rotating shifts.

– Houses/Families (3 years old above): when baby reaches 3 years old, the baby will be assign to a “family”, in which one “mommy” (nanny) takes care of 7-8 children. The child will live in the family until 14 years old – for boys, and 18 y/o – for girls. Currently, there are around 12 families/houses. In one family, normally the smallest one will sleep with mother. The rest has their own single bed. There are mothers who work here for more than 20 years. The Center need to find someone to replace her when she retires, but it’s hard. It’s required that the woman isn’t married to work here. A mother has 6 days leave per month. The rest they need to work 24 hours, cooking, taking care of the children.

– Boy dormitory (for boy only, 14-18 y/o): around 25.

The orphanage has around 100 employees and based on 2ha land.

The orphanage is under Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (DLWS), so every activity need to be reported to DLWS, like receiving a child to live here, receiving volunteers, interns, donations, they need to ask permission and be allowed by DLWS.

Few years ago, they accommodated 2 French interns worked her as nurses.

Normally, in weekends, there are lots of university students come her to volunteer (cleaning), sometime, the number can reach 100 and they can’t accommodate all of them, so they need to schedule them. Weekdays, when they need help, the students are at school.

In the morning of July 29, 2015, Smiles Across Miles – an NGO came to the center to organized a dental care program for children here. Cierra Chan passed out some of the 600 toothbrushes and toothpaste she brought for orphans in Vietnam.

It was really fun although the children were too naughty and we couldn’t organize all activities as planned, but it was really fun. We gave children papers and crayons and asked them to draw the animal which they like. But they then drew whatever they want, half of them folding paper airplane, bird, ship 🙂 🙂

II. How to apply to donate, do internship, be a volunteer:

It’s depend on which organization you want to work with. If you work with an independent organization like Dieu Giac, you don’t need to register. If you work with an organization under government, you need to register.

For organizations under government, You need to contact to

HCMc Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs (DLWS). Website: http://www.sldtbxh.hochiminhcity.gov.vn/

Social Support unit (smaller department under DLWS)

Address: no. 159, Pasteur street, District 3, HCMc.

Phone no: 08.3829.2491. Email: btxh.sldtbxh@tphcm.gov.vn

As I’ve talked with Ms. Phuong. She said

1. To apply to be a volunteer/an intern (as an individual),

you need to send a letter (can be hand writing and typing, and there’s not any form).

In which, you need to include:

+ Your personal information: full name, birthday, gender, job (if any), a photocopy of your passport, a photocopy of your visa, and your contact information.

+ Where do you want to volunteer. What’s your schedule to come.

+ Why are you interested in coming there.

2. To apply as an organization,

you need to send an official letter, in which, content will be included with list of participants and their information as aforesaid.

After that, you need to send them to office of DLWS.

They will process and they also need to ask permission from City People’s Committee, so you can expect a reply letter within 15 days.

3. Sample of Volunteering Letter:

I helped LS – a French girl to write a Volunteering Letter (she provided me her info and I wrote by both English and VNese). It was corrected a minor change by Ms. Phuong. Then LS have the letter printed then signed, with photocopied version of her passport and Vietnam visa, submitted them to DLWS on June 3, 2015. On June 17, 2015, Ms. Phuong called me and said the letter was approved and LS can come to orphanage anytime she want until June 30. So I just want to share the letter I wrote, hope it’s helpful for someone else. (Some info were hidden to protect personal info)


To: Board of Directors,

Ho Chi Minh city Department of Labor – War Invalids and Social Affairs

I’m [full name]. I was born on [birthday] at Perigueux, France.

I’m living in Pham Ngu Lao ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh city.

I visited Lang Thieu nien Thu Duc on May 28 with a Vietnamese friend and I got some information about this orphanage. There are currently 60 babies here (0-3 years old) and I would like to help the orphanage to take care of them.

I was a nanny six years in London and Paris from 2008 to 2014 (looking after children as a baby sitter since I was 15 years old). I love babies and really want to be with them, specially babies in orphanage who don’t have parents to take care of.

I believe that my skills are helpful for the children. And more on that, I want them to feel love from me. I’m willing to do anything: feeding, changing diapers, bathing, playing with them … ).

I would like to go there in the mornings from 15th to 30th June 2015, since as one officer there told me, the babies need help the most in morning time.

I attached copy of my passport and visa for your consideration.

I promise that I will follow the rule and instructions of the orphanage, that I will protect, take care and love the babies. Please contact me via my email l……q@yahoo.fr if you have any question or to inform me if I’m accepted. You also can contact my Vietnamese friend – Khuyen if needed since I don’t speak Vietnamese. Her phone no is 0903.xxx.851. Her email address is: t………8@gmail.com

Thank you and I’m looking forward to hearing from you!



Kính gửi:

Ban Giám đốc Sở Lao động – Thương binh và Xã hội Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh

Tôi tên là (họ và tên). Tôi sinh ngày (ngày sinh) tại Perigueux, Pháp.

Tôi hiện đang sống tại phường Phạm Ngũ Lão, Quận 1, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh.

Tôi đến thăm Làng Thiếu niên Thủ Đức ngày 28/5 với một người bạn Việt Nam và có được một số thông tin. Hiện tại có khoảng 60 trẻ mới sinh (0-3 tuổi) đang được nuôi dưỡng ở đây và tôi muốn được giúp chăm sóc các em.

Tôi là người trông trẻ trong 6 năm ở London và Paris từ 2008 đến 2014 (tôi bắt đầu giữ trẻ từ khi tôi 15 tuổi). Tôi yêu trẻ em và rất muốn được ở bên chúng, đặc biệt là trẻ em trong trại trẻ mồ côi không được bố mẹ chăm sóc.

Tôi tin là những kỹ năng của tôi sẽ giúp ích cho các em. Và hơn nữa, tôi muốn chúng cảm nhận được tình yêu thương từ tôi. Tôi sẵn sàng làm bất cứ việc gì: cho ăn, thay tã, tắm và chơi với các em …

Tôi muốn tới đó vào các buổi sáng ngày 15 đến ngày 30/06, bởi vì theo như một cán bộ nói, các em cần giúp nhất là thời gian buổi sáng.

Tôi gửi kèm bản sao hộ chiếu và thị thực của tôi để được xem xét.

Tôi hứa là tôi sẽ tuân theo các nội quy và hướng dẫn của Làng Thiếu niên Thủ Đức. Tôi hứa là tôi sẽ bảo vệ, chăm sóc, yêu thương các em. Hãy liên hệ với tôi tới email l………q@yahoo.fr nếu Sở có câu hỏi gì và nếu tôi được chấp nhận. Sở cũng có thể liên lạc với bạn người Việt của tôi, tên là Khuyên nếu cần thiết. Số điện thoại: 0903.xxx.851. Email: t……….8@gmail.com

Cảm ơn và mong nhận được hồi âm!

Trân trọng,

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