Year Joined MKLM: 2015
Focus: Education and Pastoral Care
Project(s): Amanecer (Daybreak) and Educación y Empoderamiento para la Juventud (Education & Empowerment for Youth)
People Served: Abandoned, abused, orphaned children and children with learning disabilities
Project Goals: To teach youth in Cochabamba the skills to impact their own lives and lives of others.
Sonny works with Amanecer’s Casa Nazareth and San Martin homes. Amanecer was founded in 1981 by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul to provide a new beginning for abandoned, abused and orphaned street children of Cochabamba. The boys at Casa Nazareth are ages 6 to 12, while those at San Martin are 11 to 15.
“After visiting an orphanage in Vietnam, I realized that besides food and clothing, these children also need LOVE and GUIDANCE which they lost when their family abandoned them. Working with these less fortunate children gives me great joy and energy. They are my new family and through them, I see the face of Jesus and His church. I feel so happy when we receive new kids from the street and so sad when one of them gets transferred out of the system at a certain age.”
“Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.” (Mother Teresa). With Sonny’s effort, Educacion Y Empoderamiento para la Juventud was created as an MKLM ministry to teach the youth some basic skills to impact their own lives and lives of others. Through this ministry, Sonny recently started a program to teach English to the children at Casa Nazareth, Manos Con Libertad and OTB Tika Khatu. He’s also in the process of setting up a music program and a computer class for the older children at San Martin. “It’s sad that the Sisters of Charity can no longer support Amanacer due to reasons beyond their control. These homes are now run by a local team and we don’t really know how much longer they can continue with less and less funding from outside sources.”
Sonny was born in Vietnam, migrated to the USA in the late ‘70s, and recently lived in Houston, TX. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Sciences from the University of Houston. Sonny worked as a professional photographer and a physician consultant in medical management. He is a musician and an experienced computer programmer. Sonny assisted with a disabled and orphaned children’s home and an educational assistance program in Vietnam. He was actively involved with Christian Life Community and was a community leader at St. Justin Martyr Parish and its Vietnamese Catholic community in Houston.
Sonny and his wife, Hong, serve with Maryknoll Lay Missioners in Bolivia.