Vietnam Caritas brings mid-autumn festival to HIV-affected kids

Event was a respite for children who have few opportunities to enjoy their childhood like other children
Vietnam Caritas brings mid-autumn festival to HIV-affected kids

Children affected by HIV watch a lion dance at an event celebrating the mid-autumn festival at the Pastoral Center in Hue City. ( photo)

October 4, 2017
Caritas workers and nuns in an archdiocese in central Vietnam showed love and care to children affected by HIV/AIDS at a mid-autumn festival.

Some 100 orphans and children whose parents have died from or living with HIV/AIDS in Thua Thien Hue Province enjoyed the Mid-Autumn of Love event held at Hue Archdiocese's Pastoral Center on Oct. 1.

The mid-autumn festival is the biggest celebration for children in Vietnam and China. It's held on the 15th day of the eighth month of the lunar calendar with a full moon at night. This year's festival falls Oct. 4.

"The event aimed to raise public awareness of loving, caring for and supporting children affected with the disease among local communities," said Joseph Nguyen Van Hoang, an organizer.

Hoang said the children are from poor families and added that they are discriminated against by others at schools and communities. They have few opportunities to enjoy their childhood like other children, he said.

During the event, children learned about HIV/AIDS, played traditional games, watched a lion dance, carried lanterns, had food and received cooking oil, mooncakes, sweets, milk and other gifts.

Doctor Tran Thi Ngoc, director of the HIV/AIDS Prevention Center based in the province, praised church workers for holding the event for the children.

"We have not organized any entertainment event for those children for the past 20 years because we only focus on looking after HIV patients at hospitals," Ngoc said. "We wish religious organizations continue journeying with those vulnerable children in the future."

Daughters of Mary Immaculate Sister Mary Nguyen Hong Phuc said nuns and volunteers plan to give gifts to 40 children from HIV/AIDS affected families in remote areas in the province on Oct. 8.

The event cost 25 million dong (US$1,110) and was sponsored by a Catholic organization in Germany.

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