Forgotten People Foundation was created in the summer of 2005 by Dr. Jerry Braza and Tuan Nguyen. Dr. Jerry Braza was a professor of health education at Western Oregon University and now Professor Emeritus. Tuan Nguyen, a former prisoner of war and boat person, has spent many years attempting to support the well being of the people in his homeland. In March 2005 they visited a government supported leper colony in Vietnam located four hours north of Hanoi. At that time, they visited with some of the 600 lepers and their family members living without adequate health care, housing, and in squalid environmental conditions. Because of disease and disability, they are hungry, lonely, ostracized from others, and unable to work or provide for their families. In a visit with now deceased Bishop Joseph Mary Tuyen Quang Nguyen, the Catholic Bishop of Bac Ninh, we discovered that there are even larger groups of people including children, the disabled, and the elderly who are even less fortunate than those living in the government supported leper colony. These people, without decent food and shelter, inhabit isolated areas deep in the forest in many provinces of Vietnam. According to recent estimates, there are literally thousands of individuals like this in rural areas in Vietnam who, because of their disability and poverty, are disenfranchised from the rest of the society. Upon return to the United States, deeply moved by the visit, they developed a non-profit organization known as The Forgotten People Foundation.
Since the needs of the “forgotten people” are so diverse and a multitude of endless possibilities, the Board of Director’s of the Foundation decided to focus on the building of a new orphanage for abandoned and disadvantaged children and adults. This project is called the HADC (Home of Abandoned and Disadvantaged Children). As noted on our website the new orphanage is now inhabitable and near final completion. As a result of a recent fund raising campaign new beds were purchased for the residents. This was only made possible by the kind and generous donations from our benefactors. Today we are focusing on supporting the 20 + residents of the HADC by providing food, medical supplies and support. In addition, the board has seen the recent need to facilitate nutritional and medical support for the residents.
Other projects that have been initiated include the support of several elementary schools in the Bac Ninh Region. School supplies have been gathered through various service-learning projects sponsored within middle schools in Monmouth/Independence, OR, USA. For example, the yearly school tuition for 1 Vietnamese child $10.00 and a teacher’s salary for 1 year is $500.00. Recently, and an extensive fund raising campaign was conducted by the Vietnamese Student Organization at the Arizona State University and over $2000.00 was collected to meet these needs. Resulting from these projects a template is being created on “How to Support the FPF through Service Learning. Another goal is create a template of how schools in the United States” (from elementary – college/universities). Currently the student organization of the Forgotten People Foundation at Western Oregon University has been raising funds to visit HADC during Winter break in December 2010.