Anh Linh Free School


For many of Anh Linh's children school is not only the most stable, safe and loving experience of their lives, it is their only pathway to a future of economic security and hope.

The History

In Vietnam, education is free, but the cost of supplies, uniforms, books, meals, and medical attention are borne by the families of the students. This can amount to $15-25 per month. There are no scholarships or sliding scales. We serve children who don't have families or who live with a single mother or grandmother. Many of the families we serve cannot afford to pay public school fees. As well, many of these children are too old for public school or don't have the required birth certificates.  As a result these abandoned children have little hope for a future that is anything different than continued economic and social deprivation. They are at risk for being sexually or commercially trafficked.

In 1990 the Vietnamese government gave permission to the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame to open a free school for some of the poorest children in Saigon. The first 17 students were children of prostitutes. The nuns knew that the poor women from the rural areas were being sexually exploited and they were determined to help. The building that housed the first school was a former pigsty. The school was supported by the order and with gifts from alumnae of a private boarding school the Congregation had run before 1975. Bridges to Learning financial support starting in 2004 helped bring the school to its present state where more than 278 students are educated at the school and 122 are provided stipends to attend public school.

It is now almost 20 years later, and the students from the first class are adults with jobs, families, and a future.