Children of Peace International (COPI) was founded in 1993. Our primary objective was to provide aid to state-operated orphanages in all of Vietnam. We began giving support at Tam Binh Orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City with Sister Hai and Sister Tan’s children. This orphanage is also known as Good Shepherd Orphanage after the namesake of our very first sponsor, Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Sandy, Utah.
Since that time, we have expanded our mission to support children in Phu Tho Province in 1994, Ho Chi Minh City in 1993, Khanh Hoa in 1996, Hoa Binh in 1996, Binh Duong in 2002, Quang Ninh in 2002, Kim Doi, Hue in 2003, Phu Yen in 2004 and Vinh Long in 2007. Currently, COPI continues to provide support in each of these provinces.
Once the children in each of the COPI supported orphanages became steady and stable, we began to notice our hard working, poor neighbors. Many of our neighbors’ children have to work to help feed their families and cannot afford the fees for attending school. Since 2004, we have been offering scholarships to several hundred small scholars each year and have built several schools for all levels.
In order to serve our friends in need, we needed to understand their ways of life, their beliefs, their culture and their habits. We found one of the most effective ways to gain an in-depth understanding about those we support was to go to where they live. Since 1997, COPI has been hosting teams to go on medical missions from the United States to Vietnam twice a year. Through these missions, we are able to provide basic medical and dental care and offer free medicine and vitamins every six-months. As we return to each community, we found more thoughtful ways to improve the lives of the people living in these areas. So now, we also provide medical equipment and training to nurses and physicians in rural hospitals.
In each community or for each project, we partner with the local people and government of Vietnam. Together, we strive to bring solutions and provide opportunities for the poor and disadvantaged communities in Vietnam to first help themselves. It is not our intention to assume the role of the provider but rather be the friend who will encourage and provide means for the people to build a healthy community in which they could be proud to live.
Children of Peace International believes it is a privilege to serve the children in Vietnam. Experiences have also taught us that children are the ones who always suffer the most during any conflict, much less wars. Thus, we want to focus our effort in lifting the youngest Vietnamese in need.
Children of Peace International operates with integrity, understanding and respect. We understand that it is our decision to serve Vietnam; thus we will serve these communities with respect regardless of their ethnicity and circumstance. These children’s needs will be our first and foremost concern as we continue to serve them.
The Vietnamese government and agencies know their country best. We will seek to collaborate with our host country officials and its people in order to achieve the best result for each situation, person and community accordingly.
Our donors and supporters have trusted us with their gift of donations and resources; we pledge our transparency and integrity to you. We are proud of our ability to efficiently provide services to our clients with a minimum of operating expenses. Please see our financial report for 2013. We invite you, our donors and sponsors to join us to visit Vietnam. While we are grateful for your support, we would like to share the gratitude from our clients to you directly.
We are grateful to the hundred of volunteers who have been serving Vietnam with us since 1993. Your dedication and love have sustained our clients and us for over 20 years. We hope you will continue to give us your love and support for many more years to come.
Binh Rybacki left Vietnam with her family at the age of eighteen. The American government evacuated her family in the last days before the fall of Saigon to the Communist troops. Binh continued her education at Colorado State University and worked for Hewlett-Packard for 25 years as an integrated circuit designer and information technology specialist.
In 1993, Binh returned to Vietnam to locate the rest of her family and to make peace with her home country. She found children working as street peddlers, beggars, and prostitutes.
Unable to leave things as she found them, Binh and her husband, Jack, began Children of Peace International in 1993 to help improve the lives of these kids. Over the years, Binh’s commitment and organization grew. Children of Peace International was incorporated in January 1996 with a board of ten members and gained non-profit status in June of 1996. Binh uses her instinct of a mother of three sons as her compass to guide her work in Vietnam.
Binh and her husband Jack are proud parents of Preston and his wife Shannon (both teaching in Saigon). Preston is COPI’s In-Country Representative, and Shannon is COPI’s In-Country Strategic Planner and Editor. Spencer lives and works in Chicago; he has made frequent trips working with COPI medical teams since the age of seven. Binh's family members all donate their time to COPI. Jack and Binh live in Loveland, Colorado.
In 2002, Kiwanis International awarded Binh the World Service Medal Award for her work in Vietnam. Past winners were Mother Teresa, Katherine Hepburn, Mrs. Rosaline Carter, Mrs. Nancy Reagan to name a few. Binh used her award money to operate the Pediatric HIV Center in Saigon for one full year.
In 2010, the United Nations Association in United States of American award Binh with the International Humanitarian Award for her work in Vietnam.
In her everyday life, Binh’s personal reminder is “In the best interest of a child, what have I done today?”