Vietnam’s development has progressed substantially since major economic and social reforms were introduced in 1986. Nevertheless, the country faces a number of challenges, especially in rural and remote areas. Caritas Australia is helping rural communities improve their farming techniques and prepare better for extreme weather. We also work to empower adults and children living with a disability.
Why do we work in Vietnam?
The Vietnam war from 1955 to 1975 devastated Vietnam’s society and economy. Post-war economic development was slow until the Vietnamese government initiated its "doi moi" (renovation) policy in 1986. Since then the country’s economy has grown steadily.
Yet, despite this recent growth, poverty and inequality remain important issues for the country. In 2011, Vietnam’s GDP per person was US$3,500 – just one twelfth of Australia’s. Nearly one in every six people in Vietnam lives on less than $US1.25 a day.
The benefits of economic growth have not been shared evenly across the country. People living in rural areas, ethnic minorities and women tend to be poorer and have lower access to health and community services. For example, one-third of people living in rural areas do not have access to proper sanitation facilities, yet nearly all people in urban areas do (World Factbook, 2010).
Extensive logging and deforestation also mean that the region’s regular typhoons and monsoonal floods impact more heavily on people in rural areas.
Our work in Vietnam
Caritas Australia is supporting 3 programs in Vietnam with two local partners. Our work covers a variety of issues including farm training and community development for ethnic minority communities, water and sanitation, disability and environmental adaption.
Examples of our work in 2010/11
- 480 people in Bac Kan Province were provided livelihood training and subsequently passed on their knowledge to their communities.
- The CRS Disability Program trained more than 2,335 parents, teachers and community members in disability awareness raising, rehabilitation techniques and project planning. An additional 851 parents participated in awareness raising events to increase their understanding of disability issues, and a team of doctors and teachers worked with 1,326 children with disabilities to determine how they could be helped by the program.