The Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese is a Cleveland Ohio based non-profit with the mission "to build bridges of friendship between the people of Vietnam and people of other countries."
Luong Thi Gia Hoa Ryan, born in Vietnam, returned to see her family in 1993 after they had been split for over twenty years because of the war and its aftermath. She was so shocked by what she saw, including in her own family, that she decided something had to be done to help the poor and the children of Vietnam.
She returned to the United States and spoke to a group of people from Northern Ohio in December 1993. She asked attorney and Vietnam Veteran Joseph Meissner for help. Meissner was very concerned about the Vietnamese, Laotian, Cambodian, and others, especially the children, he met and knew while he was in Vietnam in 1966. Together they established the Friendship Foundation of American-Vietnamese, Inc.
The Friendship Foundation has built schools and orphanages and assisted in many other ways in their numerous trips back to Vietnam and in fundraising and leadership from Cleveland. Their most recent achievement was their eleventh school and education construction project completed with the help of attorney Margaret Wong. It is be a school and education project to honor Judy Peters who helped the Foundation so much and went to Vietnam on their missions.
Mr. Thin Nguyen, their Adviser in Viet Nam, sent this letter and photos.
Dear Bac Hai,
Yesterday was the nicest day for the Principal Dung to take Groundbreaking Ceremony the two classrooms of Thanh Luong Primary School, Bac Hai and that 10 days earlier as the plan we made.
When I came there, the students were studying outside because of the rain, the roof of that classroom leaking, Bac Hai.
Attending this event, Mr Lo Van Vinh - the chairman of Thanh Luong Commune (standing next to me and Mr Huy - the Director of Dien Bien Education and Trainning Department. The teachers and the students also participated, too.
The photo will show you more, Bac Hai.
Thanh Luông is a commune and village of the Dien Bien District of Dien Bien Biên Province, northwestern Vietnam.
Attorney Margaret Wong was born in Hong Kong. She came to the United States to pursue the American Dream of success. Bravely starting a one-person law office, she has built up a large immigration law firm successfully representing thousands of families. Her firm has won many important law cases during its 42 years of serving clients.
She praises her parents for her victories: "They gave us youth a love of reading, a compelling work ethic, and an unrelenting drive to succeed. That is my recipe I give you students to lead good lives dedicated to helping others."
Winning many awards, she is the author of the world's best book on immigration, The Immigrant Way, which is distributed internationally. When President Barack Obama needed immigration lawyers, he chose Margaret and her famed firm. Winning many awards, she is also author of the best-known book on immigration, "The Immigrant Way" which is distributed internationally.
Joe Meissner says "We are only able to do this because of all the support and donations we receive from all of you. So thank you...We will continue with such projects in Vietnam. We also continue with construction of the Vietnamese Cultural Garden here in Cleveland, Ohio."
The mailing address is
Friendship Foundation of American Vietnamese
2234 West Boulevard
Cleveland, Ohio 44102
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