From the outside, The Shop of Hope appears little more than a second-hand shop of people’s abandoned belongings, stacked on shelves, hanging from rails, hoping to find a new home. Yet delve a little deeper and you’ll discover a story of hope and blessings, of giving those discarded by society the chance of a second try at life, and the hope a brighter future.
The Shop of Hope is just a small part of something much bigger, of an effort bringing hope to those throughout Vietnam neglected by society, facing poverty, hardship and the prospects of a bleak future. The larger organisation is Tiny Hearts of Hope, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit founded by Brent and Stacy Tarr in 2008 after they visited Vietnam to adopt their daughter.
It was through the adoption process that the Tarr family first encountered the disparity of Vietnam’s poor and forgotten, and felt compelled to return to work with orphaned children, like the little girl they had welcomed into their home.
Tiny Hearts of Hope started off with small activities, but as they grew they saw more needs to meet and now support multiple orphanages and ethnic groups around the country. From humble beginnings, the support they now provide includes scholarship and education programmes, clean water and sanitation initiatives, food distribution and medical care, as well as the creation and distribution of abortion and anti-trafficking materials.
Inspired by the second-hand shops of their home country America, the Tarrs founded the Shop of Hope in 2012 and celebrated their fifth anniversary last December. Through the generous donations of others, the shop has helped countless individuals with the money they raise selling books, art, furniture, clothes, knickknacks and objects de art.
Using the shop for more than just fundraising, they provide training and employment opportunities to many underprivileged Vietnamese who would not otherwise have such chances due to discrimination against the handicapped and marginalised. These opportunities help bring financial stability to individuals and families, with wages above the national minimum and other benefits that would not normally be available to them.
The Shop of Hope also donates many items to the orphanages they work with. Since opening five years ago, they have given computers, motorbikes, backpacks, clothes, bicycles, medical supplies, and countless other things that have helped many children. Working with international schools such as AIS, they give away boxes of hope at Tet and Christmas to hundreds of children around the country. Each box contains something to play with, something to hold, something for hygiene, something for education, something to wear and something special for everyone.
The Shop of Hope is reliant on the support of donations, especially from the expat community. But more so they are reliant on the customers who visit the shop to pick up a brand new second-hand something to take home and give a new life. For each purchase made, you are giving someone else a chance at a new life. Give them a visit and see what you can find for yourself, and for giving hope to someone else.