The Sisters of St Paul of Chartres is the most long-established woman’s congregation. It was created in 1696 and now counts 4,000 Sisters throughout the world. 1000 are in Vietnam.

Their story in Vietnam to today’s date is of continuous effort to reach out to those in need and to provide care and a sustainable future through education programmes and infrastructure projects.

The Sisters of St Paul de Chartres first arrived from France in Saigon in 1860. Within 6 years, a noviciate was created and Vietnamese Sisters were welcome.

The Sisters, at first, focused their attention on attending orphans. The Sisters quickly built, administered and serviced orphanages and hospitals, throughout Vietnam. Soon after, they turned their efforts to education and established schools.

In 1975, hospitals and schools were nationalised by the Vietnamese government. The Sisters managed to retain positions in those establishments.

In 1990, the Sisters were allowed to create and administer schools again which they promptly did.

In the Danang region, the Sisters are very active. Their projects include:

1. Healthcare programmes  
- For remote rural communities
- Nutritional support for patients
- HIV prevention programmes

2. Education programmes for
- Orphan children
- Children in need
- Mentally challenged
- Physically challenged
- Women
- Rural communities

3. Infrastructure programmes such as the construction and running of schools for the mentally and physically challenged

Read more on Convent St. Paul of Chartres Danang's home page.


I- Background:

Disabled people have substantial needs in terms of integration, healthcare and education, yet little action is being taken either through public services or civil society to address these needs. Consequently, our Congregation has developed a strategy to intervene in those sectors where it can make the biggest difference and in the parts of the country it is most familiar with (the Mekong Delta provinces, the Central Highlands and the provinces of central Vietnam), at the same time as strengthening its regional presence in order to raise awareness among the public authorities and civil society.

II- Objective:

Our Congregation’s overall objective in the areas in which it is active is to improve the quality of life of disabled people and to promote their full participation in Vietnamese society, based on an inclusive approach focused around local development.

III- Stakeholders:

1- Our partners:
- The regional authorities via ministerial offices, notably health and education;
- Health and education professionals;
- Technical and Financial Partners, whether donors, NGOs, or local and international specialists.

2- Target groups:

- Disabled children and young people, especially the most vulnerable, and their families;

- Health, education and social work professionals;
- Local actors (people’s committees, parish councils, volunteer organisations).

IV- Three areas of action have been identified:

1. Health and functional rehabilitation in order to develop prevention and the provision of healthcare for disabled people, by improving access to care and the quality and continuing provision of care.

2. Educational, social and economic integration of disabled people, providing them with lifelong assistance based on tailored accompanying social measures facilitating their access to employment and leisure.

3. Technical enhancement of our employees and collaborators with a view to improving our services for disabled people.

In order to implement this strategy our Congregation is seeking to enhance the skills of final beneficiaries and their associations via a partnership- and local development-based approach; to raise the awareness of local authorities; to develop alliances with development actors and a synergy of skills; to capitalise on and share our pilot schemes and expertise with partners wishing to include provision for disabled people in their strategies.

V- Our main activities:

1- Early intervention project:


- Screening for children aged 0 to 6;
- Early therapeutic education for children based on training and participation for families in remote villages;
- Provision of basic equipment for the early therapeutic education programme;
- Provision of training to the parents of disabled children in their tasks of educating and stimulating the development of the disabled child from a very early age until entry to adapted schooling;
- Carrying out an awareness-raising, prevention and information campaign in remote districts in the province of Quang Nam and a rural district in the city of Danang.

2- Functional readjustment project:

- Improving the functional readjustment care provided by our Reception Centre;
- Funding equipment for the most deprived through fund collections.

3- Project to integrate children in the school system:

- Aiming to provide teaching focused on the child, not on the curriculum. This approach is based on a recognition of the fact that each child learns and develops differently and at their own pace;
- Integrating disabled children into ordinary infant school classes at certain times, e.g. for sports or particular disciplines;
- Providing physical therapy to allow children to be integrated into the ordinary schooling system. (We recognise that inclusive education acknowledges that all children are different and that schools and education systems have to change to meet the individual needs of all learners, whether disabled or not. For instance, a child who is hard of hearing will be able to wear a hearing aid and would learn to speak before being integrated into the school system; we would not expect teachers and other children to learn sign language or other forms of communication. However, in Vietnam at the moment inclusive education is not yet applied in educational establishments. Although we recognise this, we are not in a position to establish our strategy for inclusive education.)

4- Workplace integration project:

- Constructing a vocational training workshop;
- Developing adapted vocational training in joinery, confectionery, sewing/embroidery, gardening, publicity drawing and physiotherapeutic massage;
- Helping young disabled people to find jobs and to access enterprise through awareness-raising campaigns.

5- Continuous training project for our employees and collaborators:


- Training professionals in specialised education and therapy;
- Training and enhancing the management skills of managers in our Congregation’s educational establishments;
- Training employees in either English or French.

VI- Resources:

1- Human resources
- Offering productivity and competitiveness opportunities through the management of individuals;
- Planning future personnel requirements by analysing the tasks of current staff and projecting changes in their workload;
- Transferring skills to local partners as well as direct and indirect beneficiaries.

2- Financial resources
- Diversifying our partnerships and funding sources;
- Encouraging local enterprises to improve their practices as regards raising awareness concerning disabled people;
- Cost control.