From Vietnam Veteran Joe Rokus’ of the ‘Phu Lamers’ account in recently published book on the Vietnam War (details how to buy this book soon).
Edited from special Chapter sent to AVI to share with other orphans:
THE HOI DUC-ANH ORPHANAGE, PHU LAM’S CIVIC ACTION PROJECT, PHU LAM ADOPTS HOI DUC-ANH
Hoi Duc-Anh is now a school for the blind and that the school has been in operation since 1975. Some details about this school are available on a web site of the Royal National Institute for the Blind in London, England. This site, which is intended to provide “Information for Professionals Working with Visually Disabled People”, lists hundreds of organizations around the world that are working on behalf of blind and visually impaired people. Of the six organizations in Vietnam, two are in Ho Chi Minh City and the other four in Hanoi. The following information is provided for the organization now operating at 185 Cong Quynh Street, District 1, the same address shown on adoption papers from Hoi Duc-Anh from April 1975.
THE BLIND ASSOCIATION OF HO CHI MINH CITY
185 Cong Quynh Street
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel.: 84 83 96697
Activities: Education including the teaching of Braille, Braille library, School for blind teenage orphans. Vocational training and creating employment for the blind. Plan for Rehabilitation and Vocational Center for the Blind. .. As indicated above, in 1975 the Vietnamese authorities effectively banned the Cao Dai religious sect, which had operated Hoi Duc-Anh. Consequently, it is almost certain that The Association for the Protection of Children was dissolved not long after the take-over, probably in 1975…
The history of the Phu Lam communications base and the several thousand Signal Corps men who served there is made up of many facets – some happy, some sad. Hoi Duc-Anh is part of the former. The men not only accomplished the military mission they were called upon to perform in an outstanding and professional manner, but they often went beyond the call of duty, such as in their support of the Hoi Duc-Anh Orphanage. In reflecting back on what the Phu Lamers actually accomplished some thirty or more years ago, at the top of the list must be the processing of countless messages that played a vital role in the conduct of the war. However, maybe in retrospect, what they did to help the kids at Hoi Duc-Anh, who were among the most innocent victims of the war, turned out to be at least as important as their primary military mission. We will never know exactly how the lives of the kids at the orphanage were changed because the men at Phu Lam cared about them, but there can be no doubt that that change was a positive one. Hopefully all of Phu Lam’s “adopted” children at Hoi Duc-Anh are now enjoying happy and peaceful lives.