What is Children of Peace Int'l?
Children of Peace International (COPI) is one of the New England and Bermuda District Projects. COPI is a humanitarian organization dedicated to helping the people of Vietnam develop the ability to help themselves.
Binh Rybacki and her family were evacuated by American troops only days before the fall of Saigon to Communist troops. She was only eighteen at the time. Binh Rybacki remained in the United States for more than twenty years before returning to Vietnam in 1993 to make peace with her home country and to find the rest of her family. During her visit, she found that although the war in Vietnam officially ended in 1975, the war still held the country in a state weakened by economic hardship, disease, divorce, and other difficulties. Children were working as street peddlers and beggars, moving Binh Rybacki to found Children of Peace International with her husband, Jack, in 1993.
When Children of Peace International was founded in 1993, their primary objective was to support orphanages in Vietnam. Over time, COPI has expanded their work into many provinces of Vietnam as well as into other areas of support. Currently, in addition to supporting orphanages, COPI also supports education and medical care in many areas of Vietnam.
COPI is currently partnered with 14 orphanages, homes, and schools under their Orphan Care project. The funds provided to support government-owned orphanages aim to improve the quality of the care for orphans. This includes providing training for orphanage caregivers in early childhood development, and food, education, and stability for the orphans. COPI also provides vocational training to some children to teach them skills that will be important for future employment. These skills include embroidery, sewing, cutting hair, and painting.
COPI launched its “Scholarships to our Scholars” program in 1999, which provides 400 scholarships to underprivileged students in many different provinces. The money goes towards school uniforms, school supplies, and registration fees. Children of Peace International’s support for children’s education also includes visiting students and their families to provide encouragement and guidance. The New England and Bermuda District of Key Clubs has worked with COPI in the past on their education initiative by providing funds to help build a school in a rural community in Vietnam. Our work with this school continued in later years as our District has provided further financial support to the school so that it can continue to serve the local community. Our continued support has also resulted in adding an addition to the building.
Children of Peace International also hosts two medical mission trips annually, one in the winter and one in the summer. These clinics treat people who otherwise have no access to healthcare. The medical and dental teams on the missions treat between 200 and 300 patients at each clinic and host about seven or eight clinics per mission. The clinics also aim to teach the patients how to better care for themselves so that they can stay healthy, and they provide medical equipment and training to physicians and nurses in rural communities.
Children of Peace International’s main goal is to help the people of Vietnam so that they will be able to support themselves in the future and be proud of the communities in which they live. The New England and Bermuda District of Key Clubs is proud to support COPI in this mission.
How can my Key Club help?
Most of the work that COPI does takes place overseas in Vietnam, as volunteers work in the communities to improve the conditions there. The New England and Bermuda District of Key Clubs provides financial support for Children of Peace International with donations collected at our annual District Educational Conference (DECON) during the Parade of Checks. COPI provides the following information on the impact of our donations:
- It takes $1 per day to keep a child in a day care center and off the street begging and selling chewing gum.
- It takes $35 per month to raise an orphan.
- It takes $40 per year to send a child to school, for grades K – 12, which includes school fees, uniforms, and supplies.
- It takes $45 per year to keep a child at the homeless shelter.
- It takes $70 per year to send one indigenous child to school, which includes school fees and boarding house fees.
- It takes $100 to pay for Early Children Development course for one teacher.
- It takes $100 per month to keep a family safe from domestic violence.
- It takes $200 per trip to pay bus fares for 12 Vietnamese physicians to take care of a poor community for one weekend.
- It takes $250 per year for one college scholarship.