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?
Vietnam has experienced significant suffering from the effects of war, with the most recent being the Vietnam War (1955 -1975). Growth and development of the country has also been seriously affected, with many areas and communities left with populations that are both mentally and physically affected. 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 but many people continue to struggle.
Despite recent growth, poverty and inequality remain relevant issues for the country. Vietnam’s GDP per person is US$2,052 – just 3% of Australia’s. Nearly one in every eight people in Vietnam lives on less than US$1.25 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.
Disabilities have become an increasing challenge for socio-economic development. The effects of extensive use of landmines and Agent Orange during the Vietnam War can still be seen today with 5-7% of the population living with a disability. In some places, in particular rural and mountainous regions, persons with disabilities are often marginalised from the State’s welfare programs or receive very little benefits.
Our work in Vietnam
Caritas Australia is supporting two programs in Vietnam with two local partners. Our work is focused on women, men and children who are living with disabilities in rural communities. Children with disabilities receive improved quality of social and educational services through direct support initiatives. The projects enhance access and participation for people living with disabilities to increase their living conditions, gain access to health services and improve their status within the community.
Examples of our work in 2015/16
895 people directly benefit from improved livelihood and educational support, including 272 Children with Disabilities (CwD). Vocational training, small business support, rehabilitation techniques and teaching support help improve stability and income for families with CwD.
- Engagement of People with Disabilities (PwD), parents of CwD and care givers in home based rehabilitation and hygiene training. Conducted home-based visits with an orthopedists and other therapists to assess, support and improve PwD and CwD rehabilitation. Ensured CwDs and PwDs have access to medical care including health check-ups and treatment.
- 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.