1966-1975: Project Vietnam Orphans (PVO)

The birth of Project Vietnam Orphans, and its first years of work, are described in detail in James Davidson Ross’ book, Children of the Ashes (published in 1974, but second-hand copies are still available).

The importance of helping one child

In 1966 Pat Ashe, the Vicar of St. Mary’s Church, Leamington Spa was meeting with his small prayer group. Pat’s wife Marion was watching a Vietnam War documentary on television; lorry loads of dejected Vietnamese families being taken from camp to camp, each time being sent on because there was no room.

Marion was struck by the image of one little boy with a baby on his back, wandering around, separated from his family, and lost.

When Pat went to the kitchen to make coffee for the prayer group, Marion told him about the documentary, and said ‘Isn’t there anything we could do for some of those children?’

When Pat posed Marion’s question to the prayer group, one man said ‘It’s just too big a problem. There are millions of children like that all over the world’.

Pat’s response:

‘Let’s not be put off by the millions; let’s try and rescue one’

The story of PVO is told in Pat’s own words in Part 8 of his book, Dust and Ashes. Some newspaper articles of those early years reveal some of the challenges that faced PVO.