This project was designed to help the neediest people in Vietnam.  In this impoverished country, some minority groups, such as the Jarai people are even poorer.  The Jarai is an aboriginal minority group who live in villages or hamlets in the woods or in the mountains in the highlands of Central Vietnam, separated from the Vietnamese.  There are about 300,000 Jarai in Vietnam.  They have their own language and many do not speak Vietnamese.  Among them, the most unfortunate are people who have recovered from leprosy.  They have been cured, but are still outcasts, even in their own society.

Dennis Trinh has been raising funds to build houses for these recovered lepers and their families.  The Bethany Group supports some Vietnamese Dominican nuns whose ministry includes this area.  To date, Dennis has been able to send enough funds to build four houses, four tube well systems, a water supply system for a kindergarten school, and contributed in the building of a multipurpose meeting house.  He has also been able to secure long-term sponsorships for two young Jarai girls with special needs.


          The typical dwellings of the Jarai recovered lepers are primitive huts or sheds.

A nun with a family of recovered leper family in their hut

A nun with a paralyzed recovered leper in his shed

Starting in October 2006, Dennis sent funds to Vietnam to build the following four houses:


A nun with Mr. Ven in front of the almost-finished house built with The Bethany Group funding

Mr. Ven, a recovered leper, and his family are the proud owners of this new house


The old dwelling

The new house completed for the Siu Plik family


The old dwelling

New home for the Rmah Beng family, here with a nun standing on the right


           Mr. and Mrs. Adinh are children of recovered leper parents.  They have two children.  They are very poor.  Along with some other people in their village, they go to the nearby dump site of the city of Pleiku to salvage any materials that they can resell for food.

The poor villagers at the dump site

The Adinh family catch of the day

They did not have even a hut.  Instead they were allowed to live on the side of a house.  Their shed consisted of a corrugated metal roof that was leaned on that house, and a piece of fabric using as a side wall.

At night, the two children, a daughter and a baby son, slept on the green hammock, while the parents slept on the bare ground.

Two Dominican sisters in front of the Adinh's new house.  As this house is located in an area that is very humid, it was decided to use corrugated metal sheets to build the walls so it would be easier to remove any future mold and mildew. 

This house is probably the only house in the village that has brick floor.  The Bethany Group also bought a bed for the Adinh family.  Two days after they received the bed, Mrs. Adinh gave birth to a third child, a baby girl!


            The Jarai people know their terrain very well, and know where some of the shallow underground streams can be found.  There, they can poke plastic tubes into the ground to extract water.  However, these water sources are used by both humans and cattle (and even wild animals), and are very filthy. 

Typical tube well

Typical tube wells

             Stating from March, 2008 The Bethany Group funded the construction of two tube well systems, a large one for women and children (which includes a laundry area) and a smaller one for men, near the village of O Yo.  Each one has a water filtering system and a concrete base to make it more sanitary.  Before then, there was only one well system with a muddy floor, and the water was shared by both men and women for drinking, washing and bathing.  The village has about 180 families.  It is situated on the top of a hill, about eight miles from the city of Pleiku.  The wells are intended for use by the whole village, but were built in the name of the recovered lepers.  This way we hope that the villagers will appreciate these people more.  With enthusiasm, the villagers volunteered to participated in the construction, such as carrying bricks and other construction materials down the valley to the construction site.  Children also enjoyed helping.  This was not a case of child labor; it was more like playing for them. 

The original tube wells had a muddy floor and

the water was shared by humans and animals alike

The main jobs were done by paid workers

while simpler jobs such as carrying bricks were done by volunteer villagers

A man carried a bag of cement 

A woman carried bricks in her back basket

Each kid carried

as much as they could

Some women arranged bricks that
they had just brought down

Some other women carried mixed concrete to build a small bridge to the women's wells

Some children tried to learn how to mix concrete

The well was taking shape

The back wall of the women's well

The women's well has nine water spouts and two clothes washing areas

Finishing a clothes washing area

The well was taking shape

The two well systems, with the men's well in the forefront showing the water filtering system

The men's well with six water spouts and with a plaque indicating that it is a gift of The Bethany Group

A small bridge leading to the women's well

The women's well has nine water spouts

Sr. Sang and Sr. Lien in Jarai traditional dresses and standing in front of their accomplishments

A souvenir plaque for The Bethany Group next to Sr. Lien

The woman with the pink shirt was just finishing her laundry while the woman in blue shirt was washing her clothes

The kids were enjoying the fresh,
clean (and cold!) water


            Thank to the hard work of the whole village, under the supervision of two Dominican nuns, the villagers now can enjoy the safe, clean and fresh water for years to come.  The inauguration of the two wells was marked with festivities, which included a pork and rice porridge dinner for the villagers.

The Mother Superior was mixing the pot

Everybody were enjoying the porridge

Sr. Lien joined the head of the village to taste the porridge

A happy getting together

Enjoying the porridge

A kids's circle

How to eat porridge with no spoons?

No Spoon?  No problem!


             Sometimes there are compelling reasons for us to modify our project goals to accommodate for unexpected needs.  We found two young girls who needed urgent help, and we were able to find benefactors who have pledged to support these two girls for at least five years, and more probably for ten years.  The funds are used to raise these girls and teach them Vietnamese so they can go to school  (there are currently not enough qualified teachers who speak the Jarai language).

             The first girl is Puih Blaih, a child having congenital defects, with both hands and one foot missing.  The nuns who followed the Adinh's (owners of the fourth house) to the dump site found Puih Blaih playing on the garbage.  They brought her back to the village, and later to their makeshift girl home in Pleiku.

Poor adults at dump site

Poor kids at dump sites

Handicapped Puih Blaih at dump site

A girl with spoiled fruits retrieved from dump site

Puih Blaih managed to eat at a communal dinner

Puih Blaih at the wells inauguration dinner

               The second girl is Puih Lyun, the step daughter of Mr. Adinh (owner of the fourth Bethany Group house).  Because they are so poor (and probably because Lyun is not his blood daughter), Mr. Adinh was looking to give Lyun for adoption.  The girl did not want to be separated with her mother and siblings, so the nuns took her in their makeshift girl home as we were trying to find a sponsor for her.  In June 2008 two benefactors (two of Dennis' aunts) agreed to sponsor the two girls.  Now with the sponsoring funds secured, Blaih and Lyun's future looks much brighter.

Puih Lyun (extreme left) and Puih Blaih (on Sr. Lien's lap,
at right) are among the girls at the makeshift girl home.


In 2012, Blaih is in fourth grade and Luyn is in sixth grade.  They have progressed extremely well.  Both of them have the same dream of one day becoming a teacher to help the children of their village.


         Blaih (left) and Luyn heading to class              Blaih and Luyn in traditional Jarai dresses



In 2012, the orphanage has become much larger, with some boys among mostly girls; Sr Sang in Jarai dress is present on the left side of the picture, Blaih in front row, and Luyn in back row


Blaih was writing a letter to her sponsors


                 Blaih’s letter to her sponsors                           Luyn’s letter to her sponsors


Blaih has to develop special skills to function in class, from writing

to use a ruler to mark the border of her drawing


Blaih’s project was drawing a poster about “Traffic Safety for Children”


Blaih received the second place award for her poster on “Traffic Safety for Children”

In the meantime, Luyn was recognized

as a gifted student in fifth grade


In 2013, Luyn showed her talent in the Home Economics class: an egg dish, and a floral arrangement.







The Bethany Group funded the construction of a third well to serve people in O Yo village No. 2.  The village has about 180 families.  It is situated on the top of a hill.  The water source here is not as abundant as those at O Yo village No. 1 and the current well has a rock base and a steeper terrain, so the groundwork here was actually more costly.  The total cost of this project was about $1,400.

The original tube well, with a rocky and muddy floor    Villagers collect water from the spouts and bring it
                                                                                             back to their homes uphill
 It is a hard and long trip home                                   The groundwork preparation exposes the three
                                                                                 rudimentary water spouts of the old well system


The construction of this third well system was very tedious because of (1) the rocky foundation of the terrain (at the side of the mountain) and (2) the workers did not have powered tools.  The uphill road to the village is very steep.
                     Laying the first brick                                            Moving the Construction Supplies
The brick wall of the well is taking shape                               The way to the village is very steep


Children of the village enjoy the clean, fresh, and chilly water of the new well, under the care of Sr. Sang.
 Fun, fun, fun                                                             Cold, cold, cold!
It is not that cold after all                                                                Join the crowd!



In September 2009, per urgent request from the Dominican sisters, Dennis raised about $800 to contribute to the building of a community house for the Ham Rong village.  The old one-room house was in extremely poor conditions: it was very hot when it was sunny, and the roof was leaky when it rained. 
                  The old community house                                     Jarai villagers and children
The money raised by the Bethany Group was used for the final phase to complete this large undertaking below.
   The foundation of the new community house              Framing the new community house
          Roofing the new community house                                   The complete roof

       Floor laying the new community house                   The newly built community house
The house is used for many activities.  In this facility, young Jarai children learn to read and write, and Jarai women are taught to practice hygiene and to take care of their baby.  Other adults also come here to meet and to read books.  The sisters also dispense some medicines at times.

           Young Jarai girls learn weaving                             Good students receiving rewards

            Distribution of OTC medicines                       Elderly Jarai receiving blood pressure check


This project was conceived in July 2010, and completed in May 2011.  A small school in the Ham Ring village was desperately in need of a water system.  This school has one classroom with a morning class and an afternoon class for a total of about 60 kindergarten and first grade students.  The needed work included building a well and a water holding tank for general usage at the school, and especially a piping system to the restroom which at the time lacked a water source, making it very traumatic for the children to use the facilities.  The new source of water would mean a lot to the children and parents of the Ham Ring village.

                                            The restroom did not have water
Dennis’s fund raising resulted in over $1,000 which was sufficient for the project.

            The first job was to dig and build a deep well to provide the water needed
                Then the housing base for the water reservoir was built next to the well

                           Next, the water reservoir   was built on top of the base

     A water pump system was installed to transport water from the well to the reservoir

         The water system was inaugurated on May 22, 2011, and the young students
          had the chance to try to wash their hands from the new source of water

                                  The teachers helped the students to try out

                        Most importantly, the restroom now has water for flushing

 A plaque with the inscription “Gift of Bethany Group” was placed on the back wall of the facility by the sisters



Tajana Schneiderman, with the support of Albert Trinh, raised enough funds to build a tube well for the Hang Ring village in Chu Se district, Gia Lai (Jarai) province.  The well was built and completed in February, 2013.


The original tube well with one plastic tube over a muddy floor and a wooden platform


The ground was prepared to receive construction materials and form a path to the village


Sand and bricks for the construction were delivered


The foundation, the framework, and the filtration tanks were then quickly built


As the well was being built, the villagers already rushed in to use the clean water
because water was their daily need


The new fountain has three spouts to conveniently provide perpetual water

for multiple usages and for multiple users at the same time


The fountain provides a very safe environment for all users

When the well construction was completed,

Sr. Nghien (top right) enjoyed the fountain with some village children


Water was collected into a can; and filled bottles (left bottom corner) were ready to head home


This is how water is carried home from the fountain to villagers’ homes uphill


This is the fourth tube well for the Jarai





This is to thank Sister Clara Lien Nguyen of the Dominican Sisters of St. Rose of Lima, who has coordinated the construction of the houses and wells, and who has devoted her heart and soul to the Jarai children.

Sister Clara Lien Nguyen

In January 2010, Sister Nghien Nguyen replaced Sister Clara Lien to help The Bethany Group to support the Jarai people.

Sister Nghien Nguyen

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