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Nghia-Sinh International is a humanitarian organization founded in June 1963 in Saigon to provide emergency assistance to the elderly and the poor who arrived in Saigon as refugees from the countryside of Vietnam. Nghia-Sinh has also provided food, clothes, shelter, and medicine to war victims since 1966. Between 1968 and 1975, Nghia-Sinh established the Nghia-Viet High School for the poor; Hung-Vuong Social Service Center for homeless children; Tran-Binh-Trong Shelter for displaced persons; and Chanh-Hung Human Care Program for juvenile delinquents. Nghia-Sinh served thousands of people for 12 years in Vietnam. As a result of its dedicated service to humanity, the Prime Minister of Vietnam, Minister of Education, Minister of Labor, and Minister of Social Services presented Nghia-Sinh four National Medals of Honor.
After the fall of Saigon in 1975, Nghia-Sinh began a new life in Chicago as a sponsor and reception agency (VOLAG) for Vietnamese and other Indochinese refugees. From 1975 to 1987, Nghia-Sinh resettled over 1,000 such refugees in Illinois. On some occasions this resettlement work was carried out solely by unpaid volunteers. At other times Nghia-Sinh had subcontracts from the U.S. State Department/AFCR. These funds were used partly for providing direct financial assistance to newly arrived refugees and partly for paying part-time staff. This resettlement work involved airport pickups; food and housing for the first 30 days; escort; link-up with social security; access to health clinics, schools, and public aid; access and linkage to previously resettled Indochinese refugees. Each refugee received $250 in cash upon arrival. In addition, each refugee and every refugee sponsored by Nghia-Sinh received $50 as a wedding gift and $50 for family funeral assistance. Over 70 percent of the refugees are now working. More than 20 percent are attending colleges while another 10 percent are taking retirement.
On Thanksgiving each year, refugees sponsored by Nghia-Sinh get together to thank God for His blessing, to share life experience with one another, and to enjoy an Asian American dinner.
Beginning in 1987, Nghia-Sinh started to address the issue of youth problems such as school dropouts, drugs, gangs, and crimes through its prevention programs. Nghia-Sinh also offered cross-cultural workshops, individual counseling sessions, after-school programs, and martial arts classes, among other programs.
At the White House in April, 1983, President Ronald Reagan personally honored Nghia-Sinh and its founder, Dr. Nguyen-Trung Hieu, with the President's Medallion of Volunteer Community Service for its volunteer human care services.