Lisa Nguyen - A fairy with the heart for fatally ill children

Update: 10:13 | 26/12/2019
TGVN. Many people called Lisa Nguyen (Thao Huong) “a fairy”, but she only saw herself as an ordinary person who has compassion for the children. Over the years, the house of Lisa and her husband in Singapore has become the shelter of many families with fatally ill children who have been treated in this country.
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lisa nguyen a fairy with the heart for fatally ill children
Lisa Nguyen with CAI-supported child patients.

Being a Vietnamese woman with 3 little children and a full-time administrative job at a Singaporean company, what motivates you to set up and run a charity fund like the Children Are Innocent (CAI)?

In fact, I have started volunteer work more than 10 years ago, since I was still living in Vietnam. The idea of establishing CAI probably came from the time I accidentally read an online message of help from a Vietnamese family who sold all their assets and borrowed money to send their children to Singapore for medical treatment, but they still did not afford the cost.

As I was living in Singapore, so I really wanted to support the family of that kid named Phuc. However, as my contribution is so small, I asked my friends on Facebook to go with me or send me their donations which would be given to Phuc’s family. After that call, I received tens of million VND which is not great but for the first time, I was very happy to donate support from the online community.

In the next case of Duc Loc, with a treatment costs of several billion VND, I also called for the sponsors and online community in Vietnam and abroad to support him.

When the support and sharing of the online community was increasing, I found it was not convenient to use my personal Facebook to ask for donations. Therefore, I decided to establish a foundation which is reponsible for this work. As a result, CAI was born in late 2016.

Although having been established for 3 years, CAI helped to treat more than 300 patients with serious diseases (hydrocephalus, brain infection, cataract,…). To do this miracle, must you have a lot of companions?

Right! I am just an ordinary woman, not a successful businesswoman or a celebrity. I just have the love and compassion for unfortunate children. Therefore, what CAI has done in the past were not only the achievement of mine but also that of philanthropists and volunteers in Vietnam and around the world.

Up to now, we have received 30 billion VND from philanthropists, 60 billion VND from coordinators and families. Sometimes I was surprised as I did not expect my work could receive such sympathy and support. I was touched by the compassion of many people, especially the monk Thich Tue Thanh – head of Trieu Son Tay Pagoda (Hue), the companion of foreign friends like Dr. Rajendra Tiruchelvarayan in Singapore who covered the entire cost of a brain surgery (estimated at 12,000 Singaporean dollar) of child patient Quach Ngoc Long in the last November.

lisa nguyen a fairy with the heart for fatally ill children

So far, 70 children have been sent to Singapore for treatment with the support of CAI. What did you do to bring these children to Singapore?

Our target group is those who are seriously ill and in difficult circumstances. We want to bring the seriously ill children to Singapore for treatment so that they can have a better and more effective treatment environment than in Vietnam. However, not all cases necessarily need to come here for treatment because the costs are very expensive.

We study medical records as well as surgical expenses, funding and try to minimize the costs of families. Cases that were brought to Singapore were mainly relates to brain and eye diseases. In addition to the surgical support, we convince hospitals to lower the room cost for patients, or let child patients’ parents to stay in the hospital overnight to save money for accommodation.

Our work always receives the support of doctors and hospitals in Singapore. The children and their families are helped by us to be arranged accommodation in accordance with the their financial conditions. Those who are too difficult may come to live with my family.

Each treatment trip usually lasts for months and during that time, we offered them the sight-seeings, birthday parties, reunions between families so that they feel warm and less relieved in a foreign country.

Did your activities receive the support from your Singaporean spouse?

I was fortunate to receive the sympathy, great support from company’s leaders, my spouse and partners. My husband not only never blamed me for “doing voluntary activities”, but also wholeheartedly helped me look after my children, do houseworks and support CAI’s activities.

My husband is always enthusiastic in CAI’s work and willing to welcome the Vietnamese children’s families to my home because he loves children and wants them to have access to the best medical conditions. We all hope that CAI can do much bigger things, help more and more children who get ill and have difficulties in the country.

Thank you so much!

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