Saigon is not just a city for business and work, it is also home to charitable institutions with various charitable causes. If you ever want to give back and volunteer to help others, these centers are always happy to get an extra helping hand. So if you’re visiting Vietnam and you want to do some volunteer work, here are some charities that are worth checking.

A.R.C – Animal Rescue and Care

ARC’s mission is to initiate and facilitate care, advocacy and awareness for animals in need in HCMC. It aims to achieve this through rescue, foster and adoption programmes for dogs and cats in urgent need of care, protection and love.

Operation Smile

4F, 16 Ngo Quyen Street, Hanoi +84 90 488 55 55

Approximately 1 in 500 children are born with a facial deformity. In as little as 45 minutes, and for about VND4.5M, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever. Operation Smile, in collaboration with its partners, aims to provide 5000 free reconstructive surgeries to children born with cleft lips and palates. The volunteers, either Vietnamese or expatriate, are credentialed by Operation Smile to certify that they are qualified to provide surgeries.

Smile Group – Friends of Thầy Hùng 90 399 9111, (French and English)

In operation since 2004, Smile Group’s aim is to help children who are touched by AIDS, whether they have it themselves or their relatives do. Smile Group directly sponsors about 50 children (2-18 years old), but more come to get involved in the activities. It only operates in the weekend, as children go to school during the week.

Tâm Đức Orphanage Centre

43/20 Đoàn Như Hài, D4. HCMC; +84 28 3825 3343

This orphanage is located in an alleyway at the Linh Sơn Temple and currently takes care of 36 children from the ages of 1 to 18. There are six full time helpers along with countless volunteers who keep the orphanage running. Funding comes from personal donations along with proceeds from a vegetarian restaurant that operates around the corner. Established by Abbess Thêch Tâm Huệ in 1998, it is currently building a large centre outside HCMC where it will be able to care comfortably for 300-400 children.

The Heart Institute - Alain Carpentier Foundation

30 Pham Ngoc Thach, D3;  +84 28 3827 2366

The Heart Institute was created in 1992 by Professor Alain Carpentier to help Vietnamese children suffering from heart disease. Since then, 4000 children have benefited from treatment. Each operation costs VND75.5M, and the foundation pays up to an average of VND45M. Each year a charity gala is organised to raise funds, and in 2014, VND2.7B was raised.

Saigon Children’s Charity

59 Tran Quoc Thao, D3+84 28 3930 3502

Giving scholarships, building schools, running a vocational school in Saigon and working with other smaller organisations that focus on children with disabilities are just some of the ways that SCC enable about 3000 children to go to school every day.

Friends for Street Children

140/4 Vo Thi Sau, D3; +84 28 3829 6951

It is FFSC’s mission to improve the living conditions and enhance the available resources of disadvantaged children in Saigon and their families at risk.

Hope Unending

The River Consultant Building, Him Lam, D7; +84 79 866 4211

Hope Unending’s mission is to help abused, sexually exploited and vulnerable populations through prevention, restoration, and promoting social justice. In particular, they do a lot of important work with female victims of human trafficking.

For information on charity in Saigon go to Heart Institute Gala benefits Vietnamese Children with Heart Disease