Where Vietnam’s Poor Go to Borrow - News On 30 September 2016

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1) Where Vietnam’s poor go to borrow

In Dien Bien Province, a group of Thai ethnic minority women run a small bank that fills a huge credit gap in Vietnam’s economy.

“I’d like to borrow VND7 million [$314] to buy pigs,” said Diep, a farmer and member of Vietnam’s Thai ethnic minority group in her early forties.

“Does anyone have any objections?” asked the chair of a meeting of 32 women sitting cross-legged along the floor of the wooden stilt home, dressed in the group’s traditional attire: a long tight skirt and blouse that, taken together, resembles the Vietnamese ‘ao dai’.

The assembly didn’t hesitate to approve the loan application, unanimously. Diep, or 12 as indicated by her name tag, got the money she needed within 10 minutes. Starting August 24, the group gave her six months to repay the sum at 1.5 percent monthly interest.

“The current balance is VND1.7 million,” the two treasurers announced, before placing the bank’s total holdings into a box sealed by three locks – an act signalling the end of the meeting.

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2) Struggling students fast-tracked through Vietnamese schools

Children who can’t read or write and being pushed through the education system.

When To Thi Quynh Giao’s son was sent back to first grade after having just graduated from fifth grade, she was caught by surprise to find out that her 12-year-old son was not able to read and write.

“The sixth-grade teacher asked me to visit the school to explain to me that my son was unable to read or write, so he couldn’t move on to sixth grade,” Giao said. “They decided to send Vu back to his old elementary school where he could repeat first grade.”

She added that she was very happy to see her son moving onto middle school, however, her “happiness didn’t last long”.

Vu later took a test, and much to everyone’s surprise, he couldn’t even write his mother’s name despite the fact that he had been given extra help.

The family said that they already knew Vu did not meet the grades and had asked the elementary school to hold him back, but the school refused to do so.

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3) Nearly VND94 billion spent assisting natural disaster-affected people

The most serious drought recorded over the past 100 years mainly affected south-central Vietnam, the Central Highlands, the southeastern and Mekong River Delta regions.

To help affected people, in March, the Vietnam Red Cross (VRC) worked with the central steering committee on natural disaster prevention to launch a campaign lasting until August, calling on people across the country to stand side by side with the victims and assist them in overcoming the consequences of the natural disasters.

From the sponsorship inside and outside the VRC, the organization has given support for 74,043 families with a capital of nearly VND94 billion.

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4) Friendship Order presented to World Vision International

The order aims to recognise the active contribution of the organization in boosting poverty reduction and socio-economic development, especially in caring for and protecting children.

VUFO Chairman Vu Xuan Hong expressed his gratitude over WVI support for Vietnam’s socio-economic development process over the past three decades, confirming that VUFO would continue to cooperate and make favourable conditions for WVI activities in Vietnam.

Being honoured to receive the order, Kevin Jenkins, WVI President, said that the order was a reflection of the fine relationship between the Vietnamese Government and the WVI over the past many years. He added that he hoped the relationship would be further developed in the future.

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