Habitat for Humanity (HFH) began working in Vietnam in January 2001 with its first project in Danang City in the central coastal region. As of June 2014, Habitat has enabled more than 13,300 low-income Vietnamese families to improve their living conditions through decent homes, clean water and safe sanitation. HFH Vietnam has also provided training in areas such as disaster preparedness, financial education, and hygiene practices to more than 56,000 individuals.
Vietnam has lifted more than 35 million people out of poverty since the early 1990s due to rapid economic growth and reforms. However, nearly 11% of Vietnam’s 90-million population is still living below the national poverty line of 400,000 Vietnamese dong (about USD 20) per month in rural areas. Low-income families living in poorly built housing are trapped in annual cycles of repairs. More than half of rural dwellers lack adequate sanitation while more than one third does not have access to clean water. Every 7 in 10 people also face the risk of typhoons, torrential storms and flooding which hit Vietnam annually.
Nearly 11% of Vietnam’s 90-million population is still living below the national poverty line.
HFH Vietnam partners with low-income families to build, repair or upgrade their homes with families contributing “sweat equity” or their own labor, and typically repaying the costs through microfinance loans. International volunteers provide a hand-up by building alongside the families. Habitat also enables families to build facilities for clean water and safe sanitation according to their needs. The partner organizations that Habitat works with include the local government and communities. The training that Habitat offers to its partners include appropriate construction technology, financial management, awareness and practice of proper hygiene, community-based disaster risk management.
In Hoa Binh province, northern Vietnam, HFH Vietnam is providing safe shelter along with water and sanitation facilities to improve health and productivity of more than 80 low-income ethnic minority households. Living in a disaster-prone area, the families will also receive training to protect their lives and property from calamities.
Quang Nam province, located in the central coastal region of Vietnam, is among the poorest regions and often affected by disasters. HFH Vietnam aims to build resilience to natural disasters and climate change through housing solutions and community-based disaster mitigation training. HFH Vietnam also helps families to improve their health through clean water and safe sanitation.
HFH Vietnam helped 212 families in badly affected Quang Nam province to recover from Typhoon Nari which struck in October 2013. Shelter repair kits were provided.
In southern Vietnam, access to microfinance loans through HFH Vietnam’s implementing partner will enable 155 low-income households to improve their livelihood. The Nine Dragons project also trains families in community-based disaster risk management, and raises hygiene standards through the provision of adequate water-sanitation facilities.
“I hope that the new home will bring us a new life.”
-Tran Thi Kieu Mai | Cho Gao district, Tien Giang, Vietnam
For 7 years, Tran Thi Kieu Mai and her grand-daughter Nguyen Hoang Bao Vy had to endure extreme temperatures while living in an old and dilapidated house in Cho Gao district, Tien Giang province. During the dry season, they would feel stuffy in the house. When heavy rains poured, water would come into the house and made the mud floor soggy.
Mai and Vy moved into their Habitat house in September 2013. With a safe and decent house, she does not have to worry about annual repairs. She can now spend more time on earning a living as a seasonal laborer. According to Mai, her health has improved now that she has a clean living environment and a proper toilet. “I hope that the new home will bring us a new life,” said Mai.