The Kianh Foundation, a British and Vietnamese registered NGO, has been operating in Central Vietnam since 2000, serving the needs of children with diabilities and their families, and developing local capacity to meet these needs.
After 11 years of experience at the grassroots level, the foundation opened what has become a highly successful center for the development of special needs children in Dien Ban, a poor rural area situated between the prosperous cities of Hoi An and Da Nang.
Dien Ban has one of the highest percentages of disabilities in the country, having been in the top 10% of districts bombed most heavily in the American War. Dioxin poisoning is believed to be the cause of many of the diseases now present in 3rd generation children, including Cerebral Palsy, Down's Syndrome, and Spectrum Disorders.
The Kianh Center, the only multi-disciplinary project of its kind in the area, serves approximately 90 children at the center, providing a wide range of programs, from mainstream education to physical development programs to very specialized behavioral management. The children range in age from 1 - 18.
Another of the center's priorities, in addition to a focus on child development, is the training of local staff to be able to respond, at a very high level, to the needs of their communities. The Kianh Center, at present, can accommodate approximately 9% of the children in the district who qualify for on-site service. We do our best to offer some support to the under-served families who can become so desperate, that some, unable to cope, eventually give up their children to government institutions.
Those who visit the center often assume that such a well-run and well-resourced operation is well-funded. It is not. The annual operating costs of $200,000 requires constant fundraising efforts by the two managers. The ongoing funding of local staff salaries and the sponsorship of pupils is vital to keep the center running at its current level of services and numbers of children served.
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