Tet gifts delivery to disability single mothers in Dong Anh Hanoi


It had been the first week of a true Hanoi winter.  Schools were canceled due to the low temperatures and the rain fell relentlessly throughout the day and night. At the Coins For Change headquarters, we complained about the temperature drop, bundled ourselves in our warmest clothes and drank hot tea throughout the day.

On January 27th, yet another rainy winter afternoon, both the volunteers and executives of Coins for Change braved the elements and met at Languages.vn for a special mission. We were to visit the families of seven different women who are supported by Coins For Change. After loading up each family’s gift for Tết, we set out with our fleet of taxis to see the faces of those benefiting from our hard work.


Before reaching the first home, we picked up two disabled mothers who served as our ambassadors into the homes. Both women walked with a severe limp due to the malpractice of a doctor carelessly applying a faulty vaccination when they were just small children. Despite this disability, both of these beautiful women were cheerful and walked without aid, only confidence.


At the first home, we were greeted by a talkative 78-year-old, whom didn’t seem to care that most of us didn’t speak Vietnamese. She was living with a mentally and physically disabled daughter who had to stay in bed all day long.  The woman was gracious that we had brought her a present for Tết, because no one had ever done so in the past.

We went on to visit a variety of scenarios that afternoon. The next home that we visited was quite a contrast to the extravagant Italian styled mansion across the street. The home was damp and crowded but the family’s spirits were high. We visited a one-bedroom home of a single mother where we gathered under the low hanging ceiling smiling back at her tiny daughter. Strips of laundry detergent and shampoo hung on a cart in the corner, evidence that the woman has a small side business to make ends meet.

We met a petite middle aged single mother who was a successful businesswoman until a scooter accident left her with brain damage and unable to continue her work. She was exceedingly thankful that her fourteen-year-old son was able to receive an adequate education thanks to Coins for Change. We were welcomed to another home by a squealing pig and a barking dog. Discovering later that the small home with three beds was home to a family of six, with one of those beds placed outside.


Though we had witnessed some dreary Vietnamese flats this day, perhaps the most uplifting visit of the day was to a home that was under construction. Earlier that month, the house had collapsed due to rain damage. A brigade of family members was now hard at work, building her a new home. The woman had hosted a homestay for several years and asked for bricks in exchange for stay –not money. It was uplifting to see her investment of bricks coming to life as her dream home.


This day was eye opening for all of the volunteers at Coins for Change. As we gathered on the kitchen floor for dinner that night, we mulled over on what we had witnessed that day. Though the temperature was as low as it had been, we felt a little warmer and didn’t dare complain about the cold.

by Brennan Hussey

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