CCF has established a newsponsorship program in Vietnam, as a part of a community development project in the hilly rural district of Bach Thong (pronounced ‘Back Tong’), about 120 miles from the capital, Hanoi. Most people in Bach Thong are from the Tay and Nung ethnic minority groups, and typically, extended families live together in small stilt houses made of wood, bamboo or mud with thatched roofs.
Despite the return of peace after the Vietnam War, in the decades since, the country has experienced little economic growth. Aside from limited income-producing opportunities, other hazards that threaten children and families include widespread water contamination that limits potable water supply; dwindling marine populations due to overfishing; and limited public health and education services.
About half of the households in Bach Thong lack toilets, and 90 percent of schools have no water or sanitation facilities at all. And, while basic education is free, parents cannot afford to pay for the associated expenses of sending their children to school. Of those that do attend, many walk long distances to get to school, across wide streams and mountains. Many children also face malnutrition and disease, since between harvest times, many do not have enough to eat.
Sponsoring children in Vietnam offers them the benefits of CCF community development programs. These include:
Children’s clubs in which CCF works directly with young people to provide life skills and livelihood training
Health check-ups for all children in communities where CCF works
Construction of schools, complete with teacher training, equipment, supplies and community participation in education
Construction of health centers, water supply systems, toilets, irrigation and dams
Training of health staff and provision of medical equipment
Raised awareness and education about child protection, safe motherhood, nutrition and hygiene
Establishment of savings and credit groups, to create small business and support networks, especially for women
Introduction of new crop varieties and training on farming to promote self-sufficiency of families