Children of Peace International (COPI) was founded in 1993. Our primary objective was to provide aid to state-operated orphanages in all of Vietnam. We began giving support at Tam Binh Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City with Sister Hai and Sister Tan’s children. This orphanage is also known as Good Shepherd Orphanage after the namesake of our very first sponsor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sandy, Utah.
Since that time, we have expanded our mission to support children in Phu Tho Province in 1994, Ho Chi Minh City in 1993, Khanh Hoa in 1996, Hoa Binh in 1996, Binh Duong in 2002, Quang Ninh in 2002, Kim Doi, Hue in 2003, Phu Yen in 2004 and Vinh Long in 2007. Currently, COPI continues to provide support in each of these provinces.
Once the children in each of the COPI supported orphanages became steady and stable, we began to notice our hard working, poor neighbors. Many of our neighbors’ children have to work to help feed their families and cannot afford the fees for attending school. Since 2004, we have been offering scholarships to several hundred small scholars each year and have built several schools for all levels.
In order to serve our friends in need, we needed to understand their ways of life, their beliefs, their culture and their habits. We found one of the most effective ways to gain an in-depth understanding about those we support was to go to where they live. Since 1997, COPI has been hosting teams to go on medical missions from the United States to Vietnam twice a year. Through these missions, we are able to provide basic medical and dental care and offer free medicine and vitamins every six-months. As we return to each community, we found more thoughtful ways to improve the lives of the people living in these areas. So now, we also provide medical equipment and training to nurses and physicians in rural hospitals.
In each community or for each project, we partner with the local people and government of Vietnam. Together, we strive to bring solutions and provide opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged communities in Vietnam to first help themselves. It is not our intention to assume the role of the provider but rather be the friend who will encourage and provide means for the people to build a healthy community in which they could be proud to live.