ND Vietnam



The vision for a ‘guest house’ was birthed in the early days of our program when we first observed the children and caregivers coming for surgery and medical care. Most of these families live in far-away rural locations, and they usually travel all night by bus to arrive at the hospital waiting room early the following morning. The hospitals are very crowded, and the days are long and tiring. Then, if the child needs to be admitted and a bed is not available, the families often struggle to find acceptable and affordable places to stay near the hospital while they wait. When this is not possible, they are sometimes sent to local pagodas.

The hospitals in Vietnam are very crowded – a minimum of 4 beds and sometimes 8 or more in the larger rooms with overflow in the hallways. One of the parents or caregivers usually shares the bed with the child, while any other family members are left to find alternate places to sleep (hallways, benches, outside locations, etc.) The challenge is even greater when the child is in surgery and ICU since the hospital bed is then given to other patients and no longer available for the family’s use.


We first envisioned a ‘guest house’ simply as a way to lessen the family’s burden in what is already a stressful time (a child’s major surgery) by offering a clean, comfortable, home-like place to stay near the hospital.

As this dream began to take hold, we started seeing the Guest House as more than a place of rest and respite. The Guest House environment gives our local staff more opportunity to build relationship with the families and better minister to their needs during their time away from home. We want the Guest House be a fun place for the children, and a place where we can offer activities such as basic medical training, life skills training, and counseling to the parents. We’ve also been pleased to see how the families find encouragement and comfort from just being together with other families in similar situations.

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