ChildFund Vietnam celebrates 20 years: what has been achieved for children?

Reporting by ChildFund Vietnam
These children are attending a ChildFund-supported kindergarten in Vietnam where ChildFund has been working for 20 years

ChildFund has been working in Vietnam since 1995 and began community development programs in just one district, in one province. Today, ChildFund works in seven districts across three northern provinces – Bac Kan, Cao Bang and Hoa Binh – where the majority of people are from ethnic minority groups, often the most vulnerable or marginalised sections of the population.

Starting with 220 children in 8 villages, ChildFund Vietnam now helps almost 34,000 children in 488 villages!

Ky Son district is the first area where ChildFund Vietnam began implementing child sponsorship. Ky Son is located in Hoa Binh, a mountainous rural province in northern Vietnam.

When ChildFund began work in four communes in this district, poverty rates were high and there was a critical need for water and sanitation facilities. Preschools and primary schools were in poor conditions and the quality of healthcare was very low, resulting in high rates of child malnutrition.


Photo: Children playing in a classroom in Hoa Binh province in 2002

What has been achieved?

A recent evaluation of our work in these four communes in Ky Son found that ChildFund’s community development programs have contributed to poverty reduction, increased incomes and improved living conditions for children and their families over the past 20 years.

This data shows just how different life is in these communes today:

  • Poverty rate has fallen from 30% to less than 5%
  • 100% of children now complete primary education
  • 100% of children are delivered by a skilled health professional
  • % of households with safe water has risen from 26% to 77%
  • % of households with a hygienic toilet has risen from 16% to 74%

ChildFund Vietnam country director Deborah Leaver says: “Simply knowing that children and families now assume their children will complete primary school is such a big change in only a generation. With commitment from the community, support from local authorities and hard work from the team at ChildFund we’ve been able to make this massive change in not only the access to education but also significantly improve the quality of their education.

“In less than a generation children’s lives have been changed in a meaningful and sustainable way and that is something to be very proud of.”


Ms Ha (pictured above) is ChildFund Vietnam’s Education Project Coordinator in Hoa Binh province. She has been with ChildFund Vietnam since day one! We asked her to reflect on her journey:

“My childhood memories are of houses with thatched roofs and mud walls, muddy and rough roads. Then children couldn’t afford to go to school. Families had to worry about every meal and sick people didn’t get proper treatment. Now things have changed for the better. We have better housing and improved roads. Children now can all go to school. Poverty is reduced. People have better access to health care services.

“Working at ChildFund, I have the opportunity to travel frequently to rural areas which resemble the place where I used to live. For 18 years of my life, I lived in the very poor countryside, so I understand thoroughly how poverty affects people’s lives. I always wanted to change the situation even back then. I wanted to work for ChildFund so I could help poor and disadvantaged communities where children were having the same difficulties as me in the past.”

Read about former sponsored children Nhu and Duong from Hoa Binh province and find out where they are now.

ChildFund Australia would like to thank all of our supporters who have sponsored children in Vietnam over the past 20 years! Your generous support is having intergenerational life-changing effects on the children and communities we work with in northern Vietnam.

Get involved now

You can help children and their communities living in poverty in Vietnam – sponsor a child today!

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