At Sherpani, we strive to do our part in building a better world through everyday action. Our products are proudly made with sustainable materials, and we hold ourselves to the highest standards of responsible manufacturing. Sherpani also supports the charitable foundations we believe in. Among these is the VinaCapital Foundation in Vietnam.
Nearly a decade ago, one of the Sherpani founders came across a pamphlet in a hotel room and discovered the incredible work of the VinaCapital Foundation (VCF). This was the beginning of a touching relationship between VCF and Sherpani that continues to this day.
Seven national key programs fall under the umbrella of the VinaCapital Foundation. Each is committed to a different cause that focuses on the well-being of Vietnamese women and children. The boots-on-the-ground efforts of these programs are improving the quality of life in underserved communities across Vietnam.
Sherpani supports several of the VCF programs. Today, we want to highlight the work of one in particular - Heartbeat Vietnam.
Heartbeat Vietnam funds life-saving heart operations for financially disadvantaged children with congenital heart defects (CHD). Founded in 2006, the program has a successful history of providing sick children and their families with the care they need to recover and thrive.
Diagnosing CHD is essential to a child’s survival. About one percent of children are born with a congenital heart defect. Without prompt surgery or intervention, eighty-five percent of those children will not reach adulthood, and a quarter won’t live through their first year.
Many sick children suffer from undiagnosed congenital heart defects. This can lead to the tragic death of a child that nobody knew was ill, the haunting effects of which will linger in a family forever. Heartbeat Vietnam combats this by providing free CHD screenings for children in rural areas of the country. Every child should have access to diagnosis and care, regardless of their financial situation or location of residence.
Children with undiagnosed CHD face other challenges as well. With a poorly functioning heart, these children move through life without proper circulation. The result is often low energy, and the children are perceived as “inactive” when they are, in fact, functioning as well as they are able. A diagnosis can change this perception.
Let this be an important reminder for us all; illness isn’t always visible on the outside.
The effects of CHD do not end with the child in question. Caregivers like grandparents, parents and older siblings miss out on opportunities when caring for a sick child; this most commonly affects women. After a child receives support from Heartbeat Vietnam, their caregivers have better access to education and work. Now the family can become economically independent and thrive toward a better future.
Over the years, Heartbeat Vietnam has saved nearly ten thousand children with congenital heart defects. Most often, these children go on to lead long and healthy lives after one surgery. Sometimes, children require two, three or even more surgeries. This can be the case for older children, or for younger children with multiple issues. Heartbeat Vietnam is committed to always standing by difficult cases throughout the process of multiple surgeries.
Beautiful Vietnam has always been one of Sherpani’s favorite destinations. On our most recent trip, the Sherpani team had the chance to visit the VinaCapital Foundation in person. We met with CEO Rad Kivette at the VCF office in Ho Chi Minh City. He was happy to talk us through the very real effects that donations have on the Heartbeat Vietnam program.
Heartbeat Vietnam is very transparent about the allocation of funds. They can even connect donors with the specific medical case that their donation supports. We had the honor of meeting a young girl who recently benefited from a heart surgery that was paid for, in part, by Sherpani.
Three-year-old Nhu Y fell sick in August of last year and was diagnosed with an Atrioventricular Septal Defect, internal holes in the heart. She was hospitalized in Ho Chi Minh City for most of December, and her mother took an unpaid leave from work to stay by her side. Nhu Y had her life-saving operation on December 20th, 2022.
Nhu Y lives in a rental house with her parents and her grandmother. With both parents working, Nhu Y’s grandmother often cares for her. This has become more difficult as the grandmother was recently diagnosed with dementia. Nhu Y’s heart surgery cost over seventy-five percent of her parent’s combined yearly salary. For this family, affording the operation was out of the question. The efforts of Heartbeat Vietnam saved Nhu Y’s life, as well as saved her family from financial ruin.
Nhu Y’s latest check-ups show improved heart health, and there is hope that no further surgeries will be required. We had the privilege of meeting this sweet girl and her incredible mother on April 5, 2023, at the VCF office. Though Nhu Y doesn’t know any English words, she was talkative and excited to meet us (maybe because we brought toys, but hey, we’ll take it). She recently started Kindergarten, and we’re certain that her natural confidence carries over to the classroom setting.
Meeting Nhu Y and her mother was a powerful experience. This little girl has a big personality, and now, a bright future to go with it. Sherpani is honored to support the life-saving efforts of the Heartbeat Vietnam program. The work of the VinaCapital Foundation is positively impacting communities all over Vietnam. Sherpani is committed to standing by the organization and will continue to do what we can, when we can, to support them.