Dung, Ky Quang Orphanage, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 2009

Photographer's Name
Anna Kucera

Dung spends most of his days on the floor of Ky Quang Orphanage. His severely deformed limbs mean crawling is his only form of mobility. He loves to be held and made to feel like he is walking or flying. Partially blind, he is drawn to the light that falls into one corner of the room. He cannot speak, but he makes sounds and gestures to communicate.

Dung is one of many special needs children in the orphanage, many of them abandoned by their parents who cannot afford the burden. The children's conditions range through mild to severe mental and physical disabilities, many of which are attributed to Agent Orange.

The Monks who run the orphanage collect donations, but it is questionable how much of that reaches the children. The Monk's living quarters are luxurious in comparison as is the highly decorated Buddhist park that surrounds the orphanage. The children are primarily cared for by the nurses and volunteers. Nurses are virtually untrained and drastically under staffed, which means children can sometimes be neglected for prolonged periods of time. The techniques used by nurses are often questionable and there have been many reports of Monks being violent or abusing children.

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