By Brandon Ng
30-Hour Famine Advocate 2012
The last part of my trip involved visiting a district where World Vision has already been a part of for the past few years. The objective of the visit was to see the difference in the standards of living after World Vision had started helping out in the commune. The district was the Yen Thuy district.
World Vision Vietnam has established the Yen Thuy ADP since 2008. They had set up a variety of different programs and resources for the community such as starting up a nutrition club for wives around the community. Mothers and wives from around the commune would meet every month or so to learn about the preparing nutritious food for their family to treat malnutrition. When we were there, we actually visited and took part in one of the nutrition club’s sessions. The session for the day was about diarrhoea. Each mother had to draw on mah-jong paper and present their opinions to everybody else. It was so gratifying to see the women take part in the session and interact so well while learning.
After the session, we visited one of the women’s (Sen)family. While we chatted, we could see the confidence of the family – much more than that of the previous families we had visited. They were more composed,they smile easily and answered our questions cheerfully. They had a baby, called Hoa, and she was 9 months old. Hoa was 9kgs at her age! Healthy as an ox. The family told us how much World Vision has helped improve their living conditions. Sen, who participates in the nutrition club, was taught how to raise Hoa properly to the healthy baby she is today. The family, while far from being rich, was in a much better condition and much more self-sustainable compared to the previous families we’ve visited.
Little Hoa and her family were the last people we interviewed and visited on our trip. Our group headed back to Hanoi to rest for a night and for some sight-seeing.
Overall, my visit to Vietnam opened my eyes to a few things.
1) About the reality of poverty running rampant amongst the people around us.
I met with people who were actually living below the poverty line and watched how they struggled through their daily lives, not knowing how much yield they would get from their crops, not knowing when their next meal would come.
2) Charity work is not just about donating money.
I mean sure, most times you think that as long as you have the money you can do anything. The important part is collecting as much money as you can right? Wrong. The crucial part to charity is the implementation. The allocation of funds would be crucial to building a sustainable life. The key to helping these communes would not be to just give them the money, but using the money for them to build a sustainable life.
If you give a man a fish he can eat for a day, if you teach a man how to fish, he can eat for a lifetime.
3) The improvement that World Vision has brought to the community.
World Vision Vietnam has improved the lives of the people in the HuuLoi commune by leaps and bounds. I can only hope that the same improvements can be made in the future for the various communes in the Mai Chau district for the people I’ve come to meet and know there.
Poverty is man’s greatest enemy. I’ve seen the war and I’ve been part of the battle. And here we are, hand in hand, fighting the good fight. Will you join us?