Caritas Australia currently supports people living with disabilities in central Vietnam, promoting disability-inclusive education and working with local governments to enhance access to health services.
Why we work in Vietnam
Since the end of the Vietnam war in 1975, the country has made significant social and economic strides. However, poverty and inequality remain. The after-effects of landmines and chemical warfare are also still seen in the large percentage of the population living with a disability. In some regions, particularly rural areas, people with disabilities experience discrimination and stigmatisation. They are often marginalised, face social exclusion and receive few benefits from government programs. Our work in Vietnam supports people who are facing the challenging combination of poverty and disability; improving their access to vital healthcare services, education and increasing their participation in social life.
Caritas Australia has been supporting projects in Vietnam since 1997
Caritas Australia currently supports two programs through two local partners in Vietnam
Disability support services, education, livelihood development, social inclusion
Empowering People with Disabilities
Running since: 2018
Partner Agency: Sustainable Rural Development (SRD)
Aims: To empower adults and children with disabilities to actively participate in their communities. The key focus is physical and mental wellbeing, as well as the development of sustainable livelihoods. Caritas Australia works with people with disabilities through parental training, community participation, livelihood development, and vocational training.
Who it is for: Over 1,800 children and adults with disabilities and caregivers in seven communes in Central Vietnam.
Achievements: Over 100 people, including nearly 70 people with disabilities accessed loans from the village saving and loan associate (VSLA). The loans were used for livelihood improvement, emergency and daily needs such as food, school fees, etc.
Parents of children with disabilities were provided with high quality training in caring for their child, child injury prevention and disability rights, including how to access government support. As a result, living conditions for around 60 adults and children with disabilities have improved through regular physical rehabilitation services and home-based physical therapist visits. Sixty percent showed improvements in physical rehabilitation and learning development. Families also receive practical help such as transportation, physical therapy, and literacy programs.
Fact: This program is expected to reach over 2500 people, including around 1800 children and adults with disabilities, along with their families/caregivers.
Vietnam has made significant strides in developing policies to ensure the integration of people with disabilities into all aspects of Vietnamese society. Despite this significant progress, many people living with disabilities, including children, have poor access to education compared with their peers without disabilities. Ethnic minorities, women and children are also particularly vulnerable to inequality, having lower access to health and community services.
Disabilities According to a UNICEF study, there are 6.2 million people living with a disability in Vietnam, around 7% of its population. The figure is so high partly due to the use of Agent Orange (chemical dioxin) and landmines throughout the Vietnam War.
Inequality Although Vietnam’s economy has strengthened, the gap between rich and poor is wide. Women and children living in poverty, along with ethnic minorities, do not share Vietnam’s growing prosperity. Ethnic minority groups, especially women, are less likely to secure waged employment and many of them also have poor financial literacy and less influence over decisions within the home and the community.
Climate Change is already impacting Vietnam and is expected to get much worse. The country’s geographic position makes it particularly vulnerable to natural disasters. Rising water levels in the Mekong Delta are already impacting Vietnam’s agriculture industry, posing concern as this fertile region provides up to 70% of the country’s agricultural products.
How we help
Caritas Australia works in Vietnam with a focus on children, women, and men living with disabilities in rural communities. Our programs help to improve living conditions, provide better access to healthcare services and allow those living with a disability to participate more fully, and joyfully, in their communities.