Here are a few testimonials of some of the volunteers and beneficiaries in our program

Dear Buu Son Pagoda and Great Benefactors of Sahaya International

My name is Doan Thi Thanh Hien, currently living in Tan Hiep B commune, Tan Hiep district, Kien Giang province. I am a member of Buu Son Buddhist family.

I want to extend my sincere thanks and deepest gratitude to the Great Benefactors of Sahaya International. Thanks to your scholarship, I can get where I am now. I just graduated from college with the result of 7.04, ranked quite well. In addition, I would like to thank Buu Son Pagoda for being a bridge between me and Great Benefactors so that I can continue my study, attend the university I dreamt of, as well as my peers. This scholarship not only helped me fulfill my dream but also helped my family with my tuition. The care and support of the Great Benefactors is a tremendous encouragement and a motivation for me to try and complete my educational path. I am very happy that today I graduated from college and I am also very grateful to Buu Son Pagoda and the Great Benefactors for helping me. I will try to find a stable job to help my family overcome difficulties. I promise to become a good citizen, useful for my family and society and please the Great Benefactors. In the future, if I have conditions, I will follow your example, I will help students in difficult circumstances so they can fulfill their dreams of education.

Once again, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the benefactors of Sahaya. Wish you healthy, peace and love. Wish Sahaya to have more and more members and develop to help many families and students.

Vietnam October 25, 2018


Doan Thi Thanh Hien

Doan Thi Thanh Hien (accountant)

I would like first of all to extend my sincere gratitude to the Great Benefactors of Sahaya International.

My name is Nguyen Le Ngoc Dieu. I live in Thanh Dong commune, Tan Hiep district, Kien Giang province.

3 years have passed so fast. Thanks to the help of the organization, I can complete my education, and didn’t let you down. I just graduated with a major that I have always dreamed of – Nursing – with a result of 7.3, ranked fairly. Thanks to the organization’s scholarship, I had more funding to cover my accommodation and my family was less struggling. I am very grateful to the Great Benefactors for helping me. Your interest and help are great encouragement and motivated me to continue to fulfill my dream.

Thank you for your longing and help, I promise to try and find a stable job related to what I have learned and will become a good citizen, be helpful to our society and help my family overcome difficulties. In the future, if I have conditions, I will follow your example, I will help families in difficult circumstances.

Once again, I want to express my deepest gratitude to the benefactors of Sahaya. Wish you healthy, peace and love. Wish Sahaya to have more and more members and develop to help many families and students.

Vietnam January 2, 2019


Nguyen Le Ngoc Dieu

Nguyen Le Ngoc Dieu

I am starting my story by saying lot of thanks to Mr. Selvam & Mr. Koen.

I am Kumanan Thangarasu, from Andimadam. Now working as Quality Engineer in windmill industries at Chennai. While I was studying Secondary education my father was passed away. Because of this I struggled to start my under Graduate. At that time I heard about READ/SAHAYA by one of my friend. Then I met Mr. Selvam and Koen to explain my situation and requested to help for my studies. After the meeting, they accepted to sponsor my 4 years of studies. Also they gave me a chance to go UC-Davis for internship. It was a boon of my life.

After completion of my Under Graduation I started to work. I planned to help the children’s education by funding. Then I learnt below from Koen and selvam that Helping tendency, and how to live my life by own and serving the people.  Finally thanks to READ/SAHAYA for all their supports.

My life’s truth: Without Support of READ/SAHAYA I have no this happy life.

Warm regards,



Hello everyone!

I am Sathiya working as a math faculty in one of the coaching institute in India. And I am taking care of my family , life going nicely.

But before 8 years I suffered a lot to run my life with poor income of my grandmother. I don’t have parents; my grandmother only raised me and my younger brother. So I was about to drop out my studies when I was in 10th standard and planned to go for work in local shops to help my grandmother to run the family. At that time READ/SAHAYA  gave me their helping hand to continue my studies. Mr. Prashanth sponsored me till i completed my master degree in computer science. It took 7 years to complete my high school and other two degrees. He helped me with very much love. Without Mr. koen and Mr. Selvam it is not possible either. Today I am earning and taking care of my family and gave rest to my grandmother. Now I have the capabilities to take care of my life on my own. It’s all because of READ/SAHAYA.  I thank them from bottom of my heart. It lighted up my life. It made me to have the hope that this world is filled with very beautiful hearts with very love. I am really happy to be a member of this big lovable family. Thank you READ/SAHAYA.




Our organization consists of undergraduate students from the University of California, Davis, working towards social and health improvements in rural Indian communities. In 2015, our team had the immense pleasure of connecting with Sahaya International and since then we have experienced the heartwarming work of this organization firsthand, specifically in Andimadam, India.  


Sahaya International and their partner organization READ have changed the lives of countless underprivileged children and HIV+ individuals over the years. During our annual trips to Andimadam, our team has had the incredible fortune of actually witnessing the organization’s impact on the community. This insight into Sahaya International’s work has been breathtaking to witness. The two primary schools founded by Sahaya/READ in Andimadam are run by a strong staff that is truly passionate about furthering these students’ education. The teachers are always eager to try new activities and subject material, and project collaborations with our team over the past few years in matters such as hygiene education, menstruation education, coding, and diabetes awareness have all been incredibly successful. The students display immense motivation for their studies and always happily tell us about their impressive future career plans to be doctors, pilots, or engineers. It’s incredible that this one organization is able to make such an impact on children’s education across the world by partnering with other organizations, and we are so happy to see Sahaya International’s continued impact year after year, child after child.


Observing and partaking in Sahaya International’s work has been a prolific experience for our team, and we are very excited to continue seeing the great developments!

Project Rishi- UCDavis


Project Rishi – UCDavis

“There are many inspirational stories around the Internet. I am blessed by sharing my story here.

My Name is Lakshmi. I am working as an Electrical Design Engineer in a reputed company now. A few years back, I was a girl who suffered to get support for education. Because of my father’s death, my life started to suffer from a good education and a better life. After much difficulties, my schooling life was coming to an end despite the best academic results. I had managed to get admission to a good university in my state. Even though I secured a merit seat, the tuition fees and living cost were still very expensive, and not affordable  for my family. I can say that ‘Hope and try are always better than doing nothing’. I hoped and searched for educational funds from many resources, and finally, I came to know about READ/SAHAYA by my friend. But I heard that they mostly prefer to sponsor young children. But I hoped and tried once by explaining my situation. Selvam and Koen Van Rompay accepted to support my 4 years of educational cost.

After successfully having finished my education, I started to work. Now I wish to earn more and repay back to them by funding other children’s education. I learned an important lesson from Koen and Selvam that they are not only helping the children in need and brought up with limited advice, but they also provide them with more freedom, and self-courage to face the world.”

Many Regards,

Lakshmi T


My name is Doreen Atolo Obayo. A Kenyan by origin living in Nairobi.

I was raised in a family of 4 me being the first born. I was not privileged to successfully complete my secondary education due to hardships which I encountered in our family.. separation of my parents.. I have been so discouraged in life till one day I came across Candlelight which is a partner organization of Sahaya international…am so glad that through Sahaya have been able to get back to school and am now pursuing my dream course certificate in Food and beverage production at one of the colleges in Nairobi town.

God bless Sahaya for the good work it is doing.. giving hope to the hopeless..



Koen Van Rompay (Founder of Sahaya International):

How Sahaya was started:

“While traveling to Madras in November 1997 to attend an AIDS conference, I was very shocked to witness the social and financial poverty that many people suffer. It evoked many emotions that were hard to deal with. Especially getting confronted with talented and innocent children who lack the basic level of comfort, and who are given little respect and very few chances in life, was often heart-rending. It made me realize how spoiled I was (and I still complain!). Yet, I became frustrated with my inability to change this injustice….because I am not a social worker, I am not a politician. I am just a veterinary doctor and researcher with no experience in this. But I felt I could not close my eyes….I had to do something. Just giving some money or some food to a begging child would not provide any longterm solution for that child.

Fortunately I befriended some very dedicated social workers, including Mr. Selvam of the organization READ (Rural Education and Action Development). The genuine warmth, honesty, and selflessness they expressed in their work, but also towards me as a foreigner captivated me, and since then, has been inspiring me on a daily basis. I became very touched with their ability to use their hearts, and to sacrifice their own interests with the goal of improving the social conditions of others in their society. I was surprised to find out how much they can achieve with very little money.
This whole experience was very meaningful to me, and motivated me to try to help them out in my own way. My family and a number of close friends were immediately eager to join in, and a start was made by selling hand-made cards produced by one of these Indian groups. I never expected that our card-sale would make such a big difference there. When I was invited again for another AIDS conference in Madras in November 98, I went to visit my friends in their rural villages, and their warm hospitality and gratitude was very moving. While visiting their schools and villages, I was deeply touched by the simplicity of their daily life, but yet these people possessed an enormous richness and generosity in their hearts. This experience definitely changed my view of life. I realized the satisfaction one can gain from collaborating and building together a future for the children!

In addition, I became aware of a number of obstacles that limits the efficiency of many non-profit organization in these areas. One of the main problems that many non-profit organizations in rural areas face, is that it is very difficult for them to have efficient access to current information from the outside world, especially since internet facilities in these remote areas are either non-existing or are very expensive to access. It is also difficult for them to apply for funding from U.S.-based governmental agencies or non-profit organizations, because many will only accept applications or give them serious consideration if they are mediated through a U.S.-based collaborator or through another official U.S.-based non-profit organization. In addition, many small organizations in developing countries do not have the support or the funds to hire somebody who is experienced in grant writing to help them with the structure, grammar and spelling of the English language.

This inspired me and a number of my close friends here to start a non-profit organization in an effort to provide a broader level of support. Although we initiate our collaboration with few organizations in India we expect that by starting in this relatively small way, we can gradually expand our activities in future years to include collaborations with other local groups in developing countries.

Where may all of this eventually lead to? Remember that our efforts so far have been making a big difference in the lives of many people in these communities. My hope is to be able to continue these efforts, and to update you all periodically with achievements. I have no idea where this path will eventually lead us. My motto in life has always been “it’s better to take a step in the unknown, with the risk of eventually hitting a wall, than to refrain and spending the rest of a life locked up, regretting what could have happened only if..”.
For now, we’ll take one step at a time….and the birth of SAHAYA INTERNATIONAL is one of those steps! ”

Koen Van Rompay
November 1999

Koen Van Rompay http://www.sahaya.org/testimonials