Betty Tisdale, Founder and President of Helping and Loving Orphans (HALO), is an 90 year-old woman who has spent more than half her life dedicated to the underprivileged and abandoned children of the world.
Betty travels the world giving speeches in an effort to raise money to support orphans and other underprivileged children in Vietnam, Afghanistan, South America, and Mexico.
Last year, Betty travelled to Haiti where she will meet a single mother who has opened her house to the children orphaned by the devastating earthquake. HALO is one of few organizations that can boast 95% of the money collected goes directly to the children. The remaining 5% is used to pay for the ink, material, and cards Betty sends out at the end of each year in her annual fund raiser.
Betty visits each orphanage or village in person before she commits any financial aid. With the help of “Angels” throughout the world, Betty spreads her goodwill and charitable work from the basement of her house in Seattle, Washington.
In Vietnam, children at one of the orphanages in Kon Tum have access to 5 computers with Internet, as well as 2 full-time instructors.
Through HALO’s efforts, 2 orphans have been accepted to Vietnamese colleges and 2 others have been accepted into trade schools, which is almost unheard of in these impoverished areas.
At the physical and mental handicap orphanage, also in Kon Tum, HALO pays for 2 physical therapists, as well as making sure that their facilities have the most up-to-date equipment.
In Dakkia, HALO supports a leper village by constructing new additions to existing buildings and provides money so that it can purchase the medication necessary stop the spreading of leprosy.
It is currently looking into purchasing special bikes for the handicap people in the village so that they can “pedal” with their hands.
In Afghanistan, Betty visited the children who struggle to receive not only the basic needs, such as clothing and food, but also an education.
HALO provided financial support to purchase glass to cover the windows blown apart by the war last winter. Now, children are able to continue their education all year.
Similar to Vietnam, Betty also pays for a physical therapist to work with the disabled children in Afghanistan. These are just a few examples of Betty’s tireless efforts and dedication.
March 2011, Betty travelled to Columbus, Georgia to celebrate “Betty Tisdale Day” for evacuating An Lac Orphanage, in Saigon, in 1975, and getting all 219 orphans adopted in the US. It is for these reasons, Betty is more commonly known as “The Angel of Saigon.”
BEGINNING Prior to creating HALO, Betty Tisdale was a motivational speaker who traveled the world telling her incredible story of her evacuation of An Lac Orphanage in 1975. Her work actually began in the 1960s when she decided to take over An Lac Orphanage after Dr. Tom Dooley passed away. Dr. Dooley was a Naval doctor who set up “jungle clinics” throughout Vietnam and Cambodia during the Vietnam War. Betty continued his legacy.
IMPACT Betty Tisdale has touched literally hundreds of children world-wide through her effort with HALO. She travels to Vietnam each year to oversee HALO’s projects in Kon Tum, Bao Lam, Dakkia, and Saigon.
In Dakkia, HALO completed 10 additions to the existing buildings. There is a contract to complete 5 more. HALO has promised Father Tanh in Bao Lam $13,000 to build a brand new preschool.
In Afghanistan, through a partnership with PARSA, Betty manages to send over clothes, medicine and financial aid to renovate, expand, and repair buildings destroyed in the war-torn country.
Students from school all over world ranging from elementary schools to high schools often raise money from car washes, collecting spare change, bake sales, etc. She is 1 of 5 local Seattle finalists for the prestigious Jefferson Award and has also won an award through the Caring Institute in Washington, DC.
Even at 90 years old, Betty Tisdale does not seem to be losing steam. In March 2010, she traveled to Haiti to see what can be done to help the orphaned and under privileged children affected by the earthquake.
She will continue to raise money to support in Vietnam, Afghanistan, South America and Mexico. She plans on traveling and telling her stories to spread awareness. Through technology, she hopes to reach an even broader population through her webpage at www.bettytisdale.com.