Project to equip the Thanh Tam Disabled Children’s Centre with solar panels


 The Thanh Tam Centre in Danang is a healthcare, education, vocational training and boarding centre for disabled children. It opened its doors in the summer of 2010 and now provides facilities for 200 children and 50 young people affected by various disabilities. It is run by the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres.

 The Centre is faced with electricity supply problems: power cuts are frequent and electricity prices are rising by 10 to 20% a year. These problems present daily obstacles to the Centre in providing facilities and medical treatment to the children.

 This project seeks to equip the Thanh Tam Centre with solar panels so that it can produce the electricity it needs for its activities, thereby eliminating the problem of power cuts and fluctuating electricity prices.

 The solar panels will help to achieve a significant reduction in the Centre’s operating costs (electricity is the third largest cost item), allowing the Sisters to improve substantially the service they provide to disabled children.



 Some general information about Vietnam: the country is a socialist republic situated in South-East Asia and has a population of 85 million. It borders China, Laos and Cambodia and has a coastline on the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea. Its capital is Hanoi (see Annex 1).

 The official language is Vietnamese and the currency is the dong (EUR 1 = approximately VND 25,000).

 Following the war years, Vietnam has been gradually opening up and tourism is now developing strongly. The country’s economy is growing at a rate of 8%, mainly thanks to farming and tourism. In recent years many Vietnamese have seen a substantial rise in their living standards. Unfortunately, a substantial gap has gradually emerged between rich and poor, and between people in the countryside and those in the cities. The poverty rate in urban areas is 18.3%, compared with 44.9% in the countryside (source: Unicef 2009). Most Vietnamese towns suffer from significant levels of poverty.

 Provision for disabled children is a national problem. Various types of disability are encountered in Vietnam: mental handicap, hearing difficulties and visual impairment, and debilitating diseases, etc. as well as the consequences of exposure to toxic products such as Agent Orange.

 There are insufficient reception, education and training facilities for disabled children in Vietnam. Schooling is essentially geared towards children in good health. There is no overall policy for dealing with all disabilities. Many disabled children do not receive the right sort of support and have little chance, therefore, of integrating into society.



 The local context: a high level of disabled children. The project is located in Danang, a city situated 764 km south of Hanoi and 964 km north of Ho Chi Minh City. It is bordered by Thua Thien-Hue province to the north and Quang Nam province to the east. The population of Danang City is 887,000 (2009 census). The average per capita income in the region is very low.

 Danang City and Quang Nam province are in one of the areas most affected by Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. This explains the high rate of disabled children in the region.

 Out of a total of 200,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 in Danang, some 5,000 are disabled. In Hoa Vang District the proportion of children with disabilities is 7.8%. In some villages the rate is as high as 11%, with 60% of those being children suffering from mental impairment.

 Danang does not have sufficient financial resources to meet the education needs of its disabled young people. Only around 360 disabled children can be accommodated in the three special schools and reception centre, which equates to a school attendance level of less than 8%.

 Origins and development of the Thanh Tam Centre

 Recognising a dire need, the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres in Danang initially made part of their facility available for classes for children with disabilities. Over the years these classes developed into the “Thanh Tam” special school. This healthcare, education, training and boarding centre provides facilities for 250 disabled children aged 5 to 19 to be supported on a daily basis by two nurses, 24 special education’s teachers, 12 vocational teachers, three therapists, seven nannies, four nursery nurses and three general staff. The Centre also provides vocational training in dressmaking, baking and information technology.

 To address the problem of a lack of space, in 2008 the Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres had a reception centre for disabled children constructed in Danang. The construction was funded by the Luxembourgish NGO Christian Solidarity International (CSI).

 The Centre was completed in the summer of 2010 and officially recognised by the public authorities as a private centre for people, mainly children, suffering from disabilities.

 In 2012 CSI Luxembourg built training workshops for disabled people between the ages of 15 and 30. The workshops provide training leading to qualifications in the following fields: carpentry, cake and pastry making, dressmaking/embroidery, gardening, drawing for publicity purposes and physiotherapeutic and therapeutic massage. A team of 15 staff are responsible for managing the training and labour market integration.

 The Centre offers modern, effective and lasting therapy for the young people who attend and has different areas for looking after and treating disabled people. It comprises:

- an accommodation area for 50 children,

- a therapy area for treatment and medical attention,

- a consultation area for the families of disabled children,

- teaching premises,

- skills teaching classes,

- vocational training,

- a socialisation service based on daily activities.


Around 250 disabled children and young people take classes (for children aged 2 to 15) or training courses (for young people aged 16 to 30) in this new Centre, which provides them with an appropriate learning environment. There are also boarding facilities for around 50 of the children.

 Electricity supply is a problem, and the challenge is to become self-sufficient. The relatively frequent power cuts are a daily disruption to the running of the Centre and the provision of support and medical treatment to the children.

 The Centre is also facing a significant increase in its electricity charges, which are rising by 10-20% a year. Electricity is the third largest expenditure item (after salaries and food), and reducing the electricity budget is vital to improving conditions for the children.

 The first solar panels funded by the Luxembourgish NGO Christian Solidarity International (CSI) were successfully installed in 2010. The 7 kW of installed solar power which they provide will be able to meet 20% of the Centre’s energy use (annual solar yield of 10.5 kWh).

 This initial phase also provided an opportunity to refine the dimensions of the installation and the number of solar panels needed to make the Centre energy self-sufficient. The projected annual savings in the medium term are around EUR 7,000 a year.

 The second phase that funded by the Luxembourgish NGO Christian Solidarity International (CSI) were successfully installed in 2012. They provide are able to meet 30% of training workshops.

 Consequently, the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres are seeking to install a renewable energy supply system for the third phase to meet all the Centre’s electricity needs.



 The objective of the project is to equip the Disabled Children’s Centre in Danang with:

- solar-powered water heater systems to distribute hot water to the various buildings,

- solar panels with sufficient capacity to meet all the Centre’s electricity needs.

 The Centre could then generate its own electricity and become energy-independent. This, in turn, would allow it to spend the current electricity budget on developing activities for disabled children. And importantly, the therapy provided to children would not be interrupted by regular power cuts.

 An analysis of the buildings’ energy consumption was carried out in March 2010 by SOLAR SERVE (Vietnam) and CARERA (Germany). That study made it possible to map the Centre’s electricity consumption, identify the roofs able to support the solar panels, precisely measure each electricity consumption point (in watts per hour/day) and draw up an initial estimated budget.



 The solar panels will allow the Sisters of St Paul of Chartres to not only continue but also extend the work they are doing with disabled children. The Sisters’ aim is to enable the children to become more independent and to facilitate their social and family integration.

 In general terms, the project is aiming to contribute to the psychological, social and educational development of disabled children. It is also in keeping with local policy in Danang, which sees itself as the ‘green city’ of Vietnam.



 The estimated overall budget of the third phase to equip all the buildings is EUR 208?750.-, comprising:

- for the classes: EUR 138,750.-;

- for the vocational training workshops: EUR 70,000.



 Project launch date: on receipt of funds.

 Duration of work (conditional on obtaining funds) : approximately six months.



 The project will be managed by:

 Sister Anne Nguyen Thi Tuyet Lan, Director of the Thanh Tam Special School,

157b Phan Tu street, Ngu Hanh Son District, Danang, Vietnam

Telephone: +84 511 395 8545


This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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 Please send your donation for this project to:

- Bank name: Viet A Bank, Danang

- Address: 33 Hung Vuong Street, Hai Chau District, Danang City.

- Account holder: Thanh Tam Special School (Truờng Chuyên Biệt Tu Thục Thanh Tâm)

- Account number (VND): 1506 0000 2763 9000

- Account number (USD): 1503 0000 0077 9037


Ref: Project to equip the Disabled Children’s Centre with solar panels



Thanh Tam Special School 

Providing education and support to 200 students Read more


 Thanh Tam Vocational Training Center

Opening a new school in 2012 to help young adults learn a trade Read more



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