All of the children have their own stories about how they came to be at Duc Son Orphanage.
Sanh, for example, who was born in a hospital and left by his mother who thought he was too weak to survive. She left the baby in a corner of the hospital and fled and was never traced. The baby was presumed dead, and his body was prepared for burial. Then a hospital staff member, Mr Bac Ken, noticed signs of life. The baby was quickly resuscitated and when Sanh was strong enough Mr Ken took him to the Duc Son Orphanage, where he was given the name Cu Thien Sanh (see About us- Names and identity).
Sanh is today a fit and healthy young man with a job and a future.
A Khai's story
Giang A Khai's home town is a long way from Hue. He was born and grew up in a village in the Sapa area, in the far north of Vietnam on the border with China. A Khai, like many people in the Sapa area, belongs to one of Vietnam's many ethnic minorities. A Khai is a Hmong.
His mother died when A Khai was young. His father found it increasingly difficult to look after three children. He became aggressive and violent. One day he attacked A Khai, damaging the boy's right eye. A Khai ran away from home.
Some time later an engineer from Hue visiting the town of Sapa saw a boy burning plastic bags on the street to keep warm. The engineer asked the boy why he was out on the streets on such a cold, winter night. A Khai told him his story. The engineer took the boy back with him to Hue.
In Hue the engineer tried to get medical treatment for the boy's damaged eye. He also wanted to provide A Khai with a home, but the engineer's wife had other ideas. She would not accept the runaway into her home.
A friend told the engineer about the work Nha Su Minh Tu and her nuns were doing at Duc Son. The engineer took A Khai to the orphanage, where he was quickly accepted and where he still lives.
But it was not all plain sailing for the boy from the far north. It took some time for A Khai to settle at the orphanage. His first language is not Vietnamese and he felt like an outsider. He ran away several times in search of his own people. But, surrounded by the love and care of the Duc Son Pagoda nuns, he gradually settled down.
A Khai is now 16 years old. Thanks to a generous donation, he recently had surgery on his eye. The latest prognosis is that his eye will be saved and normal vision restored.
Kiet comes from the countrside near Hue. He was born with an eye defect. His mother died shortly after he was born and Kiet's father, a duck farmer, tried to raise his family himself.
Kiet's eyesight continued to deteriorate and his father found it increasingly difficult to care for the little boy.
The boy's eyes portruded from their sockets and family and neighbours couldn't bear to look at him. Kiet clearly needed specialist treatment and someone to care for him 24 hours a day. Finally, the desperate father took his son to the Duc Son Orphanage, seeking help from the nuns.
They were distressed by Kiet's appearance and had no hesitation accepting the boy into their care. In time Kiet's eyes have receded back into the sockets. With the help of donations, the nuns were able to take Kiet to an eye specialist. The doctor believes that sight can be restored to at least one of Kiet's eyes but the cost of the opration is well beyond the means of the orphanage or of Kiet's family.
Kiet is now 4 years old and is a cheerful little boy who's great love in life is music. He beats a small drum to any music he hears.
With financial support it is hoped that one day Kiet will have the operation to at least partially restore his sight, giving him a chance at a real future.
Like many of Duc Son Orphanage's children, Thanh was abandoned at birth. The baby was left at the gates of the orphanage. The nuns took the baby in and named her Kieu Thien Thanh.
Thanh spent the next 13 years of her life at Duc Son Orphanage, cared for by the nuns and volunteers. When she was old enough Thanh began to help to look after the younger children. She is a natural care giver and enjoys helping the toddlers.
A few years ago there were rumors in the neighborhood that one of Thanh's parents may have returned to the Huong Thuy district. The orphanage became part of an effort to find Thanh's parent.
With the aid of government agencies and hospitals, the orphanage found a man who claimed to be Thanh's father. DNA tests confirmed that the man is indeed Thanh's birth father.
The orphanage carried out background checks to ensure that Thanh's father was capable of looking after and providing for his newly found daughter. When the orphanage staff and Nha Su Minh Tu were satisfied that Thanh would be well cared for and safe, they arranged a meeting between father and daughter and in May 2011 Thanh was reunited with the father she never knew.
Although Thanh was only 14 years old, she then had to make the difficult choice to either remain at the orphanage or join her long lost family. The orphanage was careful not to pressure her. Finally she chose to join her family.