No­ble Cause

A heart-rend­ing dream led to the found­ing of a global char­ity that has helped close to a mil­lion des­ti­tute chil­dren. Christina No­ble tells Em­i­lie Yabut-ra­zon of its tu­mul­tuous be­gin­nings and Hong Kong’s role in her mis­sion

Hong Kong Tatler - - Life Philanthropy -

hat’s where Amer­ica dropped the bombs,” said a man sit­ting be­side Christina No­ble as their air­craft dropped low over Ho Chi Minh City preparing to land. It was Septem­ber 1989 and Christina—a mid­dle-aged Ir­ish woman with no for­mal ed­u­ca­tion and what she con­sid­ered a life de­void of ac­com­plish­ment— didn’t know what she was do­ing there, ex­cept for a 20-year-old dream.

“I saw the skies, all red and blaz­ing from bombs, and two lit­tle girls run­ning to­wards me, their faces just ter­ri­fied, reach­ing out for help,” she re­calls of her trou­bling dream. “I wanted to grab their hands. Some peo­ple might call it a vi­sion from God, oth­ers merely a mem­ory from a scene I saw on tele­vi­sion, but the most im­por­tant thing is that it never left me. I couldn’t ex­plain it, but I had to go to Viet­nam.”

It was al­most two decades be­fore Christina was able to set foot in the coun­try of her dream, where the Viet­nam War had con­tin­ued un­til 1975 and its con­se­quences for much longer. “When I fi­nally ar­rived, ev­ery­where I saw ragged chil­dren. It was a hor­ren­dous, hor­rific scene. There was a lot of suf­fer­ing and sick­ness yet at the same time there was this in­cred­i­ble strength borne out of ad­ver­sity. I was re­minded of my grow­ing up as an or­phan on the streets of Dublin, alone, sep­a­rated from my sib­lings, and how badly I was treated by oth­ers be­cause I had

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