Who We Serve & Why

Giving hope to families and establisihing futures for poor, disabled, and vulnerable children

Children with disabilities

Children with disabilities make up one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in Vietnam. Families who have children with disabilities tend to be poor and bear a much larger financial burden due to increased costs for healthcare, rehabilitation, special education, and other necessities. Many parents cannot work because they must stay at home and care for their children, further limiting their ability to provide for their families.

Children with disabilities have significantly less access to educational opportunities–more than half with severe disabilities never go to school.

Attitudes and stereotypes about people with disabilities create additional barriers to achieving their full potential.

By supporting children with disabilities and their families through wraparound care including healthcare, therapies, and education we relieve some of the strains these families face financially and emotionally. Significantly, these children can grow and develop to their fullest.

by the numbers

Globally, the World Literacy Foundation reports that “children from the poorest homes are almost a year behind their middle-class counterparts by the time they start school.” Adding to this challenge is the fact that there are 1.75 million child laborers in Vietnam, and between 2011-2017 there were 3,700 children trafficked for forced labor, prostitution, or marriage.

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Ethnic minority and rural children living in poverty

More than 65% of Vietnam’s population lives in rural and mountainous regions. These areas have the highest poverty rate, where many children survive without basic needs, such as sanitation and clean water. Their circumstances put them at the highest risk for malnutrition, low academic achievement, and continued poverty. The children’s well-being today and their ultimate development into productive and contributing adults create the foundation for alleviating poverty for the next generation. Multiple studies conclude that early education forms the critical first step to academic success. Simultaneously, access to good nutrition and clean water goes hand-in-hand with keeping children healthy and ready to learn.

BY THE NUMBERS

Children living in poverty at risk for dropping out of school

Children living in poverty are at risk of dropping out of school. “Vietnam is internationally recognized for its achievements in access to and quality of its basic education, but only one in two children born in the country graduates from high school. Completion rates for upper secondary are also low, at 57%. Poor, rural, and ethnic minority students have the worst average outcomes and the highest dropout rates.” (World Bank)

Educating children helps reduce poverty. According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), every additional year of education can increase a person’s future income by an average of 10% in low-income countries.

It is estimated today that for every single year that the average level of education of the adult population is raised, there is a corresponding increase of 3.7% in long-term economic growth and a 6% increase in per capita income.

World Bank, “Vietnam: Helping 8,000 Poor Students Pursue Their Academic Dreams”

Children living in single-mother households

Because single mothers face unique challenges, their children become especially vulnerable. Social and economic factors related to income disparity, unemployment, family breakdown, and low education levels hinder the rights of women and children. When women lack the means to improve their family’s situation, their children experience negative impacts and are sometimes removed from the home.

We can help prevent unnecessary family separation. Research shows some of the risk factors that result in children being placed in residential care include family breakdowns, health issues, disability, poverty, and poor or unequal provision of social services. 

When we support mothers, their children are supported. Through job and life skills training and educational support for their children, these single moms build resiliency and provide for their families.

Women lag far behind men in access to land, credit, decent jobs, and social services. Women’s health and education indicators remain lower than men’s. Women earn less than men, and the formal labor market underrepresents them (Asia Development Bank). The reasons are complex, involving patriarchal social customs and beliefs, the societal value of boys over girls, gaps between government policy and practice, and limited access to banking resources. This prevents the economic advancement of many urban and rural women.

When women and girls receive an income, they reinvest 90% of their income into their families.” Income in women’s hands translates into improved child nutrition, health, and education.