“I really love these gifts! Because of the pandemic, it’s so sad when we have to stay at home all day with nothing to do”. Hearing our discussion about the support package, K and his sibling quickly brought out all the books, backpacks, and toys that they were given. K’s family was one of 1000 households that received the COVID relief package in the third round of Backpacks of Resilience campaign by saigonchildren back in July 2021. Until now, 68,640 individuals like K have received our support to survive the greatest challenge Vietnam has faced in a generation.
Vietnam has been going through its worst wave of COVID-19, with over 835,000 cases reported since 27th April 2021. The strict social distancing measures have led to high unemployment, temporary food shortages, and overwhelmed hospital access. It was the hardest for low-income families and laid-off migrant workers. Impoverished children suddenly became the most vulnerable group, not only in daily nutrition but also in psychological health. In addition, millions of children faced problems accessing online learning due to the digital divide and lack of digital literacy.
Saigon Children’s Charity, with nearly 30 years of looking after and providing a better future for disadvantaged children across Vietnam, could not be a bystander as this crisis harmed children and threatened their futures. We decided to send COVID backpacks to thousands of children and their families in COVID-affected areas in the country.
It’s been one year since the campaign began. We have raised US$655,404 to help about 70,000 people in 8 provinces with 253,970 kgs of rice; 14,156 food packages; 2,437 backpacks with educational toys and books; and 2,539 cash packages.
The whole process was not simple. During mid-August, stricter movement controls throughout HCMC were imposed, causing delivery delays for children’s backpacks of books and toys. Therefore, we decided to replace it with even more food for the families. Along with that is a quick reaction and maximising budget and network approach to timely deliver to the needed area. Thanks to that, 10,045 families could survive the pandemic and did not have to leave the city, preventing the labour shortage from worsening after COVID.
We deeply thank you, hundreds of individual donors, corporates, and volunteers for your kindness and contributions to this campaign. “It has often been complex, unpredictable, and occasionally frustrating, but together we have been able to give real hope to thousands of Vietnam’s most vulnerable children and their families.” – Damien Roberts, Saigonchildren’s Executive Director.