About the kids
Approximately 330 children from birth to age 17 currently live at QHCC. They are bright, beautiful, funny, resilient young people who love attention from visitors and caregivers alike. They range from being typically developed to having all measure of (usually undiagnosed) physical and cognitive disabilities. Classroom education starts in the center at around age 5, and many will eventually be bussed to and from school every day. However, children with physical or cognitive disabilities are not sent to school, regardless of their ability or eagerness to learn.
Babies first arrive at the center in various ways: the community hospital will call when a child has been abandoned by his or her parents, garbage collectors have been known to find newborns in dumpsters and bring them in, or babies are left at the front gate in a box, to be found in the morning by staff.
Children are abandoned for many reasons:
- Unwed mothers unwilling or unable to cope with single-parenthood may abandon their children because of lack of a familial or social support system
- Exposure to HIV/AIDS
- Death of one or both parents
- Impoverished families who are financially unable to take care of a child may abandon him or her at the center
- The cultural stigma associated with disabilities means that if a child is born with a visible physical difference, parents may abandon the child. These abandoned children are sometimes referred to by the Vietnamese people as the "trash of Vietnam.”