On March 14, 2012 we made our first visit to the small Hoa Sen Charity School. We brought school supplies, noodles for their meals, and snacks for the kids. We had a great time getting to know this wonderful place.

The Hoa Sen Charity School sits adjacent the Phuoc Thien pagoda, and was founded by Sister Thich Nu An Nguyen on October 5, 2010. The school is located in Ninh Ich ward, about 17 km north of Nha Trang. At present the school offers free day care, pre-school, kindergarten, and tutoring classes. Sister An Nguyen expects the school to expand, and is building classrooms to accommodate a free primary school in the future. The children who attend primarily live in the Tan Thanh fishing village, where the pagoda resides.

There are currently 30 children under six years old being cared for all day at the school, and 10 middle school girls receiving free tutoring classes. Many of the public schools in rural areas are overcrowded, and it’s common practice for students to attend extra classes to keep up their grades. These extra classes are often too expensive for rural families, and Hoa Sen brings in tutors to help low-income students.

For being relatively near Nha Trang, this school receives almost zero visitors from outside their neighborhood. When we first visited we brought snacks for the children, and they were in shock that people from Nha Trang (the big city!) even knew they existed. It’s a loving environment for the children, and they are doing a wonderful service for their community.