VIETNAM: Salesian campaign “Ban COVID-19” helps provide relief to more than 7,300 people in need
(MissionNewswire) Although bordering China, Vietnam has had only 332 coronavirus infections and no deaths to date. Restrictions in the country have eased. Salesian missionaries were ready for the worst and their actions to set up prevention and relief efforts were embraced by the community. Saint John Bosco Province, located in Ho Chi Minh City, launched the “Ban COVID-19” campaign.
As part of the campaign, the Provincial Council set up a special committee to manage the initiative. The provincial sent a letter to all Salesian centers in the country asking each to help at least 50 families in its neighborhood. The special committee called for the collection of local funds, and without any aid from abroad, aimed to collect the equivalent of 60,000 euros in donations to help at least 1,500 needy people. The solidarity campaign lasted a month.
Besides bringing relief to people in difficult situations, the campaign also worked to foster more collaboration among Salesian programs in different parts of Vietnam. Overall, 138 Salesian missionaries, 92 collaborators, 35 benefactors and 41 friends of Salesian programs contributed to the campaign.
The campaign had more success than the initial goal. Salesian centers raised the equivalent of 74,000 euros and helped more than 7,300 people. In addition, four Salesian communities did not count the number of people they supported. Work in times of crisis like this is only a small part of the impact that Salesians have across the country.
Salesian schools, services and programs throughout Vietnam are helping to break the cycle of poverty while giving many young people hope for a more positive and productive future. Salesian vocational and technical schools equip students with the skills they need to compete in the local labor market by offering courses that lead to employment in construction, hotel management, electrical and mechanical engineering, computer science and other fields. Many Salesian students are school dropouts seeking a second chance.
“Salesian education responds to market demand, ensuring that youth have access to the education that will help them find employment,” says Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Students in these programs have a real opportunity to enter the workforce prepared both in terms of the skills they have learned and in their social development, ensuring a lifelong ability to retain livable wage employment.”
According to the World Bank, close to 14 percent of Vietnam’s population lives in conditions of poverty. The country has seen a drastic reduction of poverty over the last 20 years when the poverty rate was close to 60 percent. Vietnam has also made remarkable progress in education. Primary and secondary enrollments for those in poverty have reached more than 90 percent and 70 percent respectively.
Rising levels of education and diversification into off-farm activities such as working in construction, factories or domestic housework have also contributed to reducing poverty in the country. Salesian programs give impoverished children and families opportunities that are typically only available to the middle and upper classes so that all people can have hope for a better future.
ANS Photos (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – Vietnam
World Bank – Vietnam