POWELL, Wyoming — Binh Rybacki was evacuated from Vietnam at age 18, just before the fall of Saigon. She returned 20 years later to make peace with her home country. What she found there affected her so deeply she committed her life to changing it.
Rybacki will tell her story and that of Children of Peace International (COPI) in two public programs Tuesday, Jan. 27, at Northwest College in Powell.
Her 7 p.m. program in the Yellowstone Building Conference Room will repeat her 12:15 p.m. presentation to NWC students in the Trapper Room of the DeWitt Student Center.
When Rybacki traveled back to Vietnam in 1993 to locate missing family members, she found children working as street peddlers, beggars and prostitutes. She and her husband, Jack, began Children of Peace International that same year to ameliorate the plight of these Vietnamese children.
COPI supports children in 14 orphanages across 10 Vietnamese provinces through culturally sensitive overtures ranging from medical and dental care to vocational training and food provisions.
During her Powell presentations, Rybacki will talk specifically about the COPI Dignity Dresses project, which is supported by Soroptimist International of Powell.
When Rybacki discovered Vietnamese orphans who were not properly appareled were at risk of threats and even danger, she campaigned for assistance in creating simple dresses made from pillowcases. Powell Soroptimists heeded the call and encourage community members and students to contribute in any way they can to the project.
Rybacki’s programs in Powell are sponsored by Soroptimist International of Powell and Northwest College Intercultural Programs.