Viet Nam

VIETNAM: Initiatives for vulnerable increase with lockdowns

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Salesian missionaries have been providing food rations and financial support to those impacted by COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns

(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Vietnam have been working to address the increasing needs of people impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The resulting crisis of rising numbers of infected people has taken its toll on the country as the government has initiated more lockdowns to cities and urged residents to remain indoors to prevent the ongoing spread of the virus.

In Ho Chi Minh City, immigrant workers from other cities and provinces cannot go to work in the factories or companies due to the pandemic. They have no money to pay for food, rent and daily expenses. Many of them have tried to return to their areas of origin by motorbike, despite the distance from Ho Chi Minh City, while others have tried to continue living in the city, but the situation has become increasingly difficult.

Salesian missionaries have been responding with a number of initiatives. In Tam Hai, Salesians have helped poor families with food rations and direct financial assistance. In Xuan Hiep, Salesians have provided clean water and food for families in isolation. Salesians have also focused on migrant populations and provided food rations and direct financial payments in Tan Cang.

A Salesian home for orphans in the St. Joseph Parish on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City shared rice, sugar and oil with local families in need. The Salesian home for children is poor and has few resources but shared what it could, while the Salesian Vocational Training Center in Dong Thuan donated $850 to help poor families in the region. Salesians also run agriculture programs and farms and have distributed vegetables and fruit with families in need living in communities in Dalat, K'Long and Tan Ha.

"Migrant workers and those relying on daily wage work have struggled financially during the lockdowns in Vietnam and in countries around the globe," said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. "Instead of being able to make just enough to support themselves, all sources of revenue have been cut off. People are left with no food or ability to pay rent and other expenses. Salesians in these communities have been a critical resource making sure that people have shelter and enough food to eat."

According to the World Bank, close to 14 percent of Vietnam's population lives in conditions of poverty. The country has seen a drastic reduction of poverty over the last 20 years when the poverty rate was close to 60 percent. Vietnam has also made remarkable progress in education. Primary and secondary enrollments for those in poverty have reached more than 90 percent and 70 percent respectively.

Rising levels of education and diversification into off-farm activities such as working in construction, factories or domestic housework have also contributed to reducing poverty in the country. Salesian programs give impoverished children and families opportunities that are typically only available to the middle and upper classes so that all people can have hope for a better future.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS -- Vietnam -- Aid from Salesians in pandemic times

Salesian Missions -- Vietnam

World Bank -- Vietnam