“There are many young women who were abandoned by their lovers, forced to undergo abortion or give up their babies and were disowned by their families. Thanh Tam house is like a second home for these women who take care of each other and raise their babies like a normal family,” she said.“I see a great humanity in the nuns who adopted the young women, protected and cared for them even though they were strangers. I hope the Thanh Tam house can save more babies and help the young, single mothers to live and return to their families,” she said. Nun Hoa said the single mothers were allowed to live in the house after giving birth while they continued studying or learning a trade to earn a living. Their children, meanwhile, will be taken care of by the nuns who also pay their school fees. “After they begin working, they have to contribute some of their income for the house expenses but it is never enough to cover all our expenditure,” Nun Hoa said. “Sometimes, it is touching to see some families coming here to bring their daughters back after seeing the faces of their grandchild,” she added. Currently, there are 15 babies including newborns being cared by the nuns including 15 single mothers. While it was good to see some of the young mothers returning to their families, there were also instances where the mothers were forced to leave behind their children at the Thanh Tam House to be cared by the nuns. This creates more financial difficulties to the Thanh Tam House. “Although we, the nuns have to bear the financial burden to run the house, we’re happy to see the babies were born safely, while reducing abortion and helping single moms to take care their children,” Nun Hoa said.
Unwed mothers in Asian communities and many parts of the world often face stigma in their families and society at large, leaving them without any kind financial or emotional support. To help such women, the Thanh Tam House located at Tan Binh District, Vietnam offers a temporary shelter to care for them and their babies until the mothers can be independent. Here, the women share a kinship and bonding that provides the emotional support that they were deprived of and eventually, they form a family unit that protects and cares for one another. The Thanh Tam is run by Nun Hoa and rely on public donations and sponsorships to support the women and take care of their needs and their babies. To support the home, volunteers from QNET Vietnam visited the place recently and spent time with the nuns, single mothers and babies. They also helped the mothers to cook lunch and took turn taking care of the babies. QNET staff Dao Nguyen said she was both humbled and amazed to see nuns who took care of the young pregnant women and their children.