Vietnam Children's Fund
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The Vietnam Children’s Fund was founded in 1993 by the late Lewis Burwell Puller, Jr., a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and severely wounded Marine. Puller believed that in war no one goes unscathed but that children, the most vulnerable of all, suffer the greatest hardships. He felt the Vietnam Children’s Fund was a gesture that could not only help close the past but ensure a brighter future for the children of Vietnam.
VCF has now completed over 40 schools which serve more than 21,000 children. Many schools are built in the poorest and most remote areas of the country where the need is greatest.
Nature and goals
VCF’s signature design is a modern two-storey facility that serves 350 children (or as many as 700 attending in shifts) and provides eight classrooms, a library, electricity, and bathrooms. As the schools are often the newest and most structurally sound buildings in these communities they are also used for town gatherings, meetings and celebrations. In areas prone to flooding, the VCF school may be the only two-storey building in a region where villagers can go to escape disaster. Quality control, accountability for funds, sound engineering, and sound design are keystones of VCF activity in Vietnam.
Normally, 85 cents of each dollar raised goes directly to school construction. VCF does not take government funds. Funding is all private from individuals, foundations, corporations and the Combined Federal Campaign. Corporate gifts include those from FedEx, Coca Cola, Citigroup, Conoco and American Eagle Outfitters.
With a million babies born in Vietnam each year, the need for new schools could not be met even with the most generous imaginable foreign aid from all countries and World Bank assistance. Thus, funds used by VCF do not duplicate or substitute for any activity of other donors. VCF meets a need that otherwise would simply not be fulfilled.
VCF hopes to build one elementary school in each of Vietnam’s provinces and to create enough classroom space to teach 58,000 children—the number of names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington, DC.
Board of directors
Notable directors include:
- Terry A. Anderson, Co-Chair. Mr. Anderson is a former U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam. He was Associated Press Bureau Chief in Beirut when taken hostage by radical fundamentalists and remained a captive for seven years. He is Honorary Chairman of the Committee to Protect Journalists.
- Kiều Chinh, Co-Chair. Twice a refugee in her homeland, Ms. Chinh is an award-winning actress and lives in California.
- VCF in Charity Navigator
- NGO Centre Vietnam