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2018 Volunteer Trip Part 8 - Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (end!)

Similar to Cambodia, we spent 3 days with our children in Vietnam! Some of the children in Vietnam are much younger than the ones on Cambodia, and at times much more "broken". While the majority of our girls in Cambodia are "at-risk" of sexual abuse and exploitation, our girls in Vietnam are victims of sexual abuse and exploitation, even at young and tender ages of 4.

They battle with low self-esteem, shame, anger, aggression, withdrawal and mistrust, depression, anxiety, and compulsive and obsessive behaviours. Some of our children experience constant nightmares and bed wetting. Some suffer with chronic abdominal pain and irregular bleeding. The hardest to bear are the boundary issues and inappropriate sexual behaviours that few of our children struggle to control as an effect of years of sexual abuse, exploitation, and trauma.

As if sexual abuse and rape was not enough, the odds are further stacked against them having been born into extreme poverty. The level of family dysfunction is beyond measurable. Fathers beat mothers. Mother beat children. Mothers sell children. Children are taught to lie and steal right from the womb, because if not, they would not survive in the dog-eat-dog society that defines countries like Vietnam and Cambodia.

Our hope for these children is to give them the tools to live with their suffering, the unconditional love and guidance that they need to love themselves and others around them, and the education and skills they need to be successful. With that, they can go on to build positive communities! It's a long road ahead, but we're making small positive steps every day.

The children performed songs and dances for us and blew everyone away! T. sang a song about how grateful she was to Sister Ngoc, our "house mom", for her sacrifices as a mother. It brought everyone to tears.

Endless fun and games!

Secret Santa shopping day!

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