Dutch Man’s Unconditional Love for Underprivileged Kids at Quang Tri Charity Center

For nearly two decades, Hans Victor Selder, an octogenarian from the Netherlands, has devoted a great deal of time and care to disadvantaged children at the "Mai Am Tinh Hong" (Shelter of Love) in Dong Ha, Quang Tri.

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Hans’ story with Quang Tri

Hans Victor Selder, a man with a kind look and a loving heart, is called “Uncle Noys” by many generations of children at the “Mai Am Tinh Hong” center. In 1998, Hans had a chance to meet poor children in Quang Tri when he was Head of the External Relations Department of the Dutch Red Cross Society. After many visits to Vietnam and Quang Tri, he sympathized deeply and greatly supported the center since its early days as a home for disadvantaged children throughout the province.

In 2004, when the source of support terminated, Hans returned to the Netherlands, but he kept in his mind many concerns about the children he met in Quang Tri. This prompted him to search everywhere, mobilizing friends and family members to establish an organization called KoD-Foundation (Kind onder Dak). The foundation, chaired by him, provides funds to the Center for Nurturing Children with Special Circumstances “Mai Am Tinh Hong” in Dong Ha.

Ngo Quang Manh, Director of “Mai Am Tinh Hong” center, said that without the great contribution of the KoD-Foundation, particularly of Hans Victor Seldera, it would be difficult for the center to maintain its activities for so many years. “Since 2004, the total annual operating budget of the center is about VND 700 million. Since 2007, Hans Victor Selder has provided the center with an average funding of VND 250 million per year.” These figures clearly show Hans’ important role at the center.

“My heart and soul are in Vietnam”

On April 29, despite his age and health condition, Hans still visited Vietnam. During what may be his last trip to Vietnam, in a cozy meeting at the “Mai Am Tinh Hong” center, he expressed with emotion: “Maybe my health no longer allows me to continue visiting Vietnam, but my heart and soul are still here.”

Hans’ KoD-Foundation is about to close. This once again raised concern for him as it did 16 years ago, and he does not want that to happen. Hans will work hard so that new opportunities arise for the children. “I intentionally brought my friends and children with me on this trip in the hope that they can replace me to continue mobilizing, donating, and supporting the children. I hope all of my friends can work together for the center,” said Hans.

Hans emotionally thanked the teachers and nannies at the center for taking care of and nurturing the students on his and his Dutch friends’ behalf. “Please don’t forget me, please don’t forget KoD, and don’t forget my Dutch friends,” Hans said.

To acknowledge his positive contributions to people-to-people diplomacy, the Presidium of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations awarded Hans Victor Selder the medal “For peace and friendship among nations” – the noble award of the Viet Nam Union of Friendship Organizations.

Story of a Dutch man and his love for poor kids in Quang Tri charity center
Hans Victor Selder was awarded the medal “For peace and friendship between nations”

On this occasion, the Chairman of Quang Tri People’s Committee granted Hans a certificate of merit and gifts for his contributions to supporting disadvantaged children in Quang Tri. This is a deep expression of thanks from the government and people of Vietnam, particularly in Quang Tri, to a Dutch man who is referred to as ‘the father from the Netherlands’ of many generations of needy children growing up in the “Mai Am Tinh Hong” center, Dong Ha city, Quang Tri.

Valerie Mai