8: Love Hanoi Conference

Love Hanoi Conference – Saturday 24/11 13:30-16:00

Situated between two rivers, with over 30,000 trees lining the streets, and more than 30 lakes dotting the city, Hanoi has a natural beauty rarely found in developing Asian cities. Yet, the rapid urbanization over recent decades presents a great burden on the environment. The small particle count (PM2.5) is “one of the highest in Southeast Asia” according to the OECD. Already, Hanoi is at the 10 million population mark, said the National Assembly in a recent report, almost 30 years ahead of schedule.

We love Hanoi, so how can we take action today to better the environment for tomorrow’s generation? That will be the question we will wrestle with at the upcoming Love Hanoi Conference on environment on Saturday November 24 in the afternoon. HIF CityPartners is organizing this conference for all HIFers, partner organizations, local churches, and friends to participate in. We have recruited several presenters to help us understand the opportunities and challenges in Hanoi. We are still looking for people interested in pitching ideas, products and initiatives in 5 minutes presentations.





7: Cuong’s story: Raising awareness for people with multiple disabilities

Cuong’s story: Raising awareness for people with multiple disabilities


Cuong is a 22 year old young man from An Phuc district in Hanoi. Cuong was born without sight, without hearing and has never talked. Cuong’s contact with others is through touch only. As his parents work during the day Cuong spends most days alone.
Recently, Mr Tam (formerly from the City Police) contacted Pastor Jacob about Cuong, the Tam of his friend, to see if HIF could help. CityPartners contacted Quy from Unbounded Space and a member of HIF, who took the time to assess Cuong’s sit-uation and talk with his parents.
Duc, together with Mai and Phuc (from another partner organization in the An Phuc area) visited to inter-view Cuong’s parents. During this interview, Quy told Cuong’s father about cases from other countries where education for children with multiple disabilities was available. Cuong’s parents seemed interested in learning more about educating Cuong in the hope that he might be able to communicate better with other people.
We are grateful to Duc, Phuc and Mai for their willingness to provide ongoing support. Quy and Unbound-ed Space will contact organizations that have experience in educating kids with multiple disabilities to find out what support & materials are available, e.g. how and what Cuong should be taught.
During the day, Cuong is always alone at home . It appears that this is something that causes him stress, given the lack of socialization and communication. Mai and his friends are able to visit Cuong and are keen to find ways to communicate with him. From Duc’s observation, Cuong’s perception of people sur-rounding him is quite good. Cuong is able to ‘recognise’ things and moves freely within the house & knows exactly where to put items.
Currently Quy is based in Hoi An, but can Skype with Mai and his friends to guide them how to work with people with disabilities so as to build relationship with Cuong. Quy advised that Cuong’s Dad wants to have Cuong’s hearing checked to see if hearing aids may help. Quy will contact an organization that provides hearing aids to see if they can help.
City Partners will keep updated with Unbounded Space re Cuong’s situa-tion although we cannot help won-dering how many others like Cuong are spending each day in solitude and loneliness in Hanoi? If anyone from HIF knows someone or has ex-pertise in this area, please contact CityPartners.
Michael Walls
(Names and image have been changed for privacy)


6: One-day roundtable with rehab leaders and government officials

Deputy Chief of Mission, Caryn R. McClelland of the US Embassy visited the Celebrate Recovery training, here holding flowers and posing with SAMHSA staff, Helping Up Mission experts, HIF staff and CityPartners volunteers

On Wednesday, during the Celebrate Recovery training, the key leaders of the Christian drug rehabs joined a one-day roundtable discussion with government officials in HIF’s classroom. Organized by SAMHSA, the goal was to seek support from relevant government offices for the faith-based rehab centers in order to provide much needed services to the beneficiaries. SAMHSA director Nadine Rogers had recruited Tom Bond of the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore to present an integrated model of a Christian faith-based rehabilitation center. Dr. Denis Antoine of the John Hopkins University and Hospital shared about their partnership with Helping Up Mission as a role model for cross-sector partnerships.

Workshop participants represented the Vietnam Administration for AIDS Control, Hanoi Prevention Medicine Centre, Government Committee on Religious Affairs, VHATTC Hanoi Medical University, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives, FHI 360, MOLISA Department of Social Vices Prevention, and the University of Labour and Social Affairs. Besides the Christian drug rehab leaders and pastors, the Catholic priest of Hai Phong and a Buddhist monk also attended the workshop. This roundtable being the first of its kind, the various participants committed to mutual support and collaboration with practical action steps to be made soon. Many thanks to Nadine and her staff for championing these milestone events.



5: Celebrate Recovery training in partnership with US Embassy equips 120 people

This past week a number of HIFers and many local drug rehab centers engaged in a Celebrate Recovery workshop. It was well attended by both locals and expats and it was exciting to see both local and international churches and communities engage with this well known 12-step recovery program. Jonathan Sherman, the Asia Director for Celebrate Recovery , shared how they run Celebrate Recovery in the USA and in China, and how we could potentially apply their principles and techniques here in Vietnam. HIF will be launching our own 12-step group soon!

This event was the third and largest training HIF has hosted in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) office of the US Embassy over recent years for the purpose of building the capacity of the Christian faith-based rehabs. This time, SAMHSA recruited the help of Saddleback Church’s Celebrate Recovery program to introduce a Christian 12-step approach to recovery from various kinds of addictions. This program provides additional tools and content for the Christian rehab centers in guiding their students through their recovery journey.

In addition, Celebrate Recovery can be used by any church or group to provide an ongoing weekly support group for graduates from the rehab centers and for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction. It is our hope that several Vietnamese groups will be launched in Hanoi and that Celebrate Recovery will spread nationwide. SAMHSA funded the travel expenses of the trainers as well as the translation of the course materials, which we hope to officially publish in the near future. HIF CityPartners contributed by sponsoring the simultaneous translation equipment and translators, as well as the meals and breaks.