International Friendship Fund

Healing through philanthropy

Giving charity is a practice of atonement. We have been working in solidarity with Viet Nam for twenty years and have extensive projects guiding survivors and communities to reconcile with the "other" they had harmed and thereby help restore their own souls. We have built two schools, aided Agent Orange centers, built compassion houses for destitute families, repaired schools damaged by typhoons, and made gifts of animals so the poor can begin home husbandry businesses. Our gifts today help poor farming families in Viet Nam, especially in this difficult period of the pandemic combined with climate change disasters that have hit the Vietnamese people very hard in recent years.

Read about the Mother Pig Project

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Mentor The Soul is not a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Your generous donations are gifts of love.

The Mother Pig Project

At present, we work with the people of Duy Thanh commune 40 km southwest of Da Nang. We have chosen Duy Thanh because of its poverty and because it is the ancestral hometown of our brother and guide Tran Dinh Song. These projects help the village and gift Song for the loving service he has given to us over 20 years.

During this difficult time, the farmers most need a MOTHER PIG. Homes and large livestock such as we have given before are unsafe in the severe climate changes. But a mother pig does not need separate labor to take care of her, can forage in the home garden so farmers do not have to buy food, and will yield baby pigs to give the family an income.

We happily report we sent the first $3,000 to Viet Nam and purchased a dozen pigs. We continue to identify the neediest families in the commune and are currently raising the funds for a second gift of 12 mother pigs.

This work is a continuation of the philanthropy we practiced running our non-profit Soldier’s Heart, Inc, that many of you have experienced and benefited from. Every penny raised goes directly to charity. We do this as our gift of love to Viet Nam that has given our veterans and us great gifts of friendship, forgiveness, and healing.

Please help us in any way you can. Even the price of a cup of coffee contributes!

Please send checks with International Friendship Fund, Viet Nam in the memo to Dr. Ed Tick, 130 Gold St., Belchertown, MA 01007 or contribute by Venmo or PayPal using my email address dredtick@gmail.com.

The first Mother Pig Gifting Ceremony
in Viet Nam, Spring 2021

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Hatreds never cease

By hatreds in this world.

By love they cease.

This is an ancient law.

—Buddha

UPDATE — December 2021

Ms. Le Thi Van, An Lac village, Duy Thanh commune, Duy Xuyen district, Quang Nam, taking care of piglets.

Vietnamese

Không có niềm vui, hạnh phúc nào hơn khi gặt hái được thành lao động viên mãn, nhất là đối với các phụ nữ nghèo, phải gồng gánh việc chăm sóc chồng đau ốm trầm trọng, mẹ già nằm một chỗ, con cái nheo nhóc...ngày đêm nâng niu, chăm sóc heo giống được hỗ trợ, nay đã có lứa heo con đầu tiên. Mong điều kiện thuận lợi, chăm sóc chu đáo, từ nay đến tết Nguyên đán Nhâm Dần 2022 các chị sẽ có một khoản thu nhập tương đối, trang trải nhu cầu đời sống tối thiểu gia đình- Mừng cho các chị. Ảnh: Chị Lê Thị Vân, thôn An Lạc, xã Duy Thành, huyện Duy Xuyên, Quảng Nam, chăm sóc đàn heo con. Có được thành quả lao động ban đầu này, xin gởi lời cám ơn chú em Trần Đình Song Song Tran, quận Thanh Khê, TP Đà Nẵng đã quan tâm, vận động các thân hữu người Mỹ: Nhà thơ, Tiến sỹ Edward Tick, John Monahan, Floyd Striegel và Lawrence Markworth hỗ trợ dự án heo giống các đợt đầu năm 2021 cho phụ nữ nghèo xã Duy Thành.

English

There is no greater joy or happiness than when reaping the full benefits of labor, especially for poor women who have to bear the burden of taking care of their husbands who are seriously ill, their elderly mother lying in bed, and their children....day and night, nurturing and caring for piglets is supported, now there is the first batch of piglets. Hoping for favorable conditions and good care, from now until the Lunar New Year of the Tiger in 2022, the sisters will have a relative income to cover the minimum family living needs. I would like to thank my uncle Tran Dinh Song Song Tran, Thanh Khe district, Da Nang city for taking care of and mobilizing American friends: Poet, Dr. Edward Tick, John Monahan, Floyd Striegel and Lawrence Markworth support the piglet project in the first batch of 2021 for poor women in Duy Thanh commune.

UPDATE — Spring 2021

Dear Friends,

I am pleased to send you this report on our Mother Pig Project. We conducted this project during the past few months to uplift the sustainability and quality of life in Duy Thành Commune, our remote sister village in Viet Nam about 40 km from Da Nang. Your love and generosity have made this project very successful and impactful and have changed people's lives, values, and understanding for the better.

I am very happy to share that we raised $7,000 for this project — all in small donations of love ranging from a few to a few hundred dollars. And you all gave out of love, concern, and compassion without the benefit of a tax deduction. Giving purely without needing anything back is the highest form of charity.

We offered two rounds of gifting. We donated a dozen mother pigs in April and a second dozen on May Day to honor Viet Nam's April 30 Liberation Day. The commune officials chose the most needy of the entire region to receive our gifts. Please remember: the cost of these mother pigs is unobtainable to ordinary peasants with tiny annual incomes. But the gift of a mother pig enables a family to lift itself out of poverty and begin a home husbandry business that can feed and support the family. Your generosity has lifted two dozen families out of poverty and changed the entire village's relationship to the U.S. and our shared history.

Attached are photos from the gifting ceremony. Below are two reports sent by our brother-friend-guide Tran Dinh Song after the giftings.

REPORT I:

Following are the names of the women who received the pigs on May Day. The list was made and signed by Ms. Lê Thị Hương, President of the Women Association of Duy Thành Commune:

  1. Quán, born 1965, Vân Quật hamlet, single mother, very poor.

  2. Lanh, born 1963 Vân Quật hamlet, single mother, breast cancer.

  3. Hí, born 1953, Vân Quật hamlet, her pig livestock was killed by the pandemic last year.

  4. Thảo, born 1965, Thi Thại hamlet, single mother, very poor.

  5. Dũng, born 1975, Thi Thại hamlet, her husband died left her four children, very poor.

  6. Trí, born 1979, An Lạc hamlet, single mother, her baby is only a month old, very difficult living situation.

  7. Sinh, born 1982, An Lạc hamlet, her husband is very ill, two children, very poor.

  8. Sáu, born 1981, An Lạc hamlet, her husband is mentally ill, stomach cancer.

  9. Chạy, born 1956, Nhơn Bồi hamlet, her husband is deaf and dumb, very difficult living situation.

  10. Bình, born 1985, Nhơn Bồi hamlet, her pig livestock was killed by the pandemic last year, very poor.

  11. Vịnh, born 1964, Thi Thại hamlet, her pig livestock was all killed by the pandemic last year, very poor.

REPORT II:

I do not have enough words to tell you how much the gifting has touched the hearts of the following people:

  • Eleven women who live in a very difficult economic situation, some of them are single mothers bringing up the children all by themselves, some of them have ill and disabled husbands so they are the main economic pole of the family, some of them are the victims of the pandemic in 2020 killing all of their livestock, and the most difficult cases are two women who are fighting cancer!

  • Ms. Hương, the president of the Women Association, was born after the war and has been told many terrible stories about Americans. This is the first time she sees the support, care, and passion from the Americans.

  • My cousin whose father was killed when the American tanks crushed the cave in which he was hidden. The dead body of his father was never found so my cousin built a windy tomb for the soul of his father. I remember having told you this story. What you all did, 46 years after the war, has healed the wound in his memory. It is a wonderful reconciliation for my cousin and for the local inhabitants who know what happened to my uncle in 1967.

  • My granddaughter is seven years of age. This is the first lesson for her about passion, love, and philanthropy. She asked me a thousand questions about the Americans, yourselves, the relationship between people to people, and about the Pig Project. I believe what she saw at our gifting ceremony will stay with her when she grows up and help her to recognize the responsibility of helping people other than herself and her family.

June 15, 2021

I also happily report that Song, our brother in Viet Nam, also donated to our project. He gave the cost of transporting the pigs from the breeding farm to the village. Cam on, Anh Song!

Finally, we have about $1,000 remaining in our Viet Nam Charity Fund. We continue to accept donations and will purchase and gift additional mother pigs as well as carry out additional charity projects in the northern village of Hung Yen as we collect more gifts. Please continue to donate and spread the word if you are so moved.

Thank you and bless you all again and again. These acts change lives for the better, continue to heal old international and intergenerational war wounds for both countries, and enable us, as the Bible said, to "beat our swords into plowshares..."

May your heart and soul swell with hope and joy over these good works we have done together.

Hòa bình means 'peace' in Vietnamese,

Ed

Tran Dinh Song
with a community member