Mission

Mission

"Bring visually impaired children in disadvantage opportunities to approach the comprehensive and appropriate education helping them develop all potentialities, and gain essential knowledge and skills to independently attain happy life and social integration."

HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT

HISTORY OF ESTABLISHMENT

Thien An Shelter was founded by Mr. Nguyen Quoc Phong in 1999 with many vicissitudes as well as miracles...

 

      After an awestruck accident occurring in 1999 that took away his eyesight and smell, Nguyen Quoc Phong, Thien An Shelter’s founder, with a strong belief in life, thinks that: “blind is not a period for life”. He built a strong effort to overcome his destiny and start a new life.

 

Mr. Nguyen Quoc Phong – Thien An Shelter’s Founder

 

      After getting out of hospital, Mr. Phong sought for schools, specialized centers for the blinds with the hope of studying necessary skills to live the life of the person without eyes. Nevertheless, he received many refuses with different reasons such as he was too old to learn, he should sell lottery or find work to do. It was very lucky that thereafter he was received by a specialized French school.

 

       He confided that every evening, when he saw many lottery sellers passed by his house, he remembered the days when he got accident. Then, he called them, talked to them and taught them how to write the braille. They were so happy that they introduced more people to come. As people always said, what must be, must be. In 1999, Thien An Shelter (MATA) was established.

 

     He continued, there were many difficulties at the beginning. Teachers and students had to live with relative in a small garret. He must nurse, put aside and borrow money to buy a small land. Then, with the help of priest Vinh Son Bui Quang Dien, MATA built a small house for its own.

 

     When he was asked: “What do you choose this job?”, he replied: “Although I live in a big ctiy, I still have many difficulties in learning essential skills for the blind, let alone visually impaired children in poor rural areas. I’d like to help them to access education because I realized that only education can help them to overcome their fate, live independently and integrate into the society”.

 

     The number of students who found MATA increased that the little house was not enough for them. In 2004, MATA saved and borrowed money to buy a bigger piece of land to build a bigger, wider and more-convenient house. However, the process of building the house was not easy. The newly bought land was covered by weeds. Dream seemed to be far away yet came as a miracle.

 

     In early 2006, introduced by sister Maria My Dung, a nun of Dominican, GKG Group in Switzerland – a charity organization focusing on helping build shelters, houses – sponsored one third of the cost for building new MATA’s house. Also in this year, thanks to sister Mai Thanh, a nun of Saigon Notre-Dame priory whom all kids in the shelter called with a friendly name “Grandma”, the charity organization of Miserior from Germany also sponsored one third of the cost. MATA was responsible for the rest being savings and gifts from benefactors. As a magic happened real life, a new house of MATA was built and finished in 2007. In August 15, 2007, teachers and students of MATA happily moved to new house.

(For more information about building new house for MATA, visit The story of the shrimp’s head)

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