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“You are not alone”: NGOs in Vietnam collaborate to support children orphaned by COVID-19.

date_range2021-09-24

Friday 24th September, 2021 – Today, local and international NGOs working across Vietnam have officially launched a campaign to support children orphaned by COVID-19 – the hidden victims of the pandemic – titled: “You are not alone”. This campaign aims to call for social resources to be allocated towards providing urgent and long-term support to disadvantaged children who have lost a parent, both parents, or primary caregivers because of the pandemic.

This campaign is a collaboration between three organisations: Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren), Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD), and the Capacity Building and Support Center for Women and Children (CSWC).

According to estimates from HCMC Department of Education and Training, in Ho Chi Minh City alone, 1,517 children at all levels of education have been orphaned by COVID-19 in the past few months. This number is much higher when we consider all the children not included in the education system, and in other provinces and cities of the country. In combination with governmental support, participation of NGOs specializing in supporting children is essential to the transparent and efficient concentration and allocation of resources. 

Children losing a parent are at risk of serious psychological trauma, which, without proper support, can have serious long-term impacts on their mental wellbeing and curtail their chances of success later on in life. In particular, children with families already in difficult financial circumstances, who have now lost the main provider for the family, will require material support along with long-term commitment towards education and emotional support. 

The “You are not alone” campaign aims to support disadvantaged children orphaned by Covid-19 within the networks of participating organisations, as well as extending support towards the wider community through an open application system where any orphaned child outside our existing networks can seek help: https://emkhongleloi.com.

“You are not alone” will focus not only on providing financial support to the children, but will also provide mental support and guidance. Combining the diverse experiences and expertise in social work, the participating organisations will be able to: aid children in coping with the traumas of bereavement, provide responsible counselling on issues surrounding life and education, encourage and assist children in their personal development, and create a safety net to support these children in the absence of their parent(s). In essence, the collaboration between participating organisations will help these children overcome the psychological shock and trauma of losing a parent, and prevent this tragedy from affecting the child’s potential. 

The emotional trauma for orphaned children is very high; the best way to support orphaned children is to keep the child within the extended family, and give them counselling, guidance and long-term support for their physical, psychological, social and emotional needs. It is important to fund these children’s education and give them food, but it is vital to support their emotional and psychological wellbeing in order to overcome their trauma and be resilient enough to fulfil their potential.” shares Mr. Damien Roberts, Executive Director of saigonchildren.

Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh, Executive Director of MSD, said: “Indeed, this is an issue that we need to work on as a community. With the mission to not leave any child behind, we see that it is our mission to join hands with the other organisations in the “You are not alone” campaign. We hope that this will be a necessary effort to aid COVID orphans to make them feel that they are not alone. What we want is for them to know that they have the community and society with them in overcoming the adversity and in growing up to fulfill their potentials.

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Phuc, Director of CSWC, states: “The children orphaned by COVID need immediate support in terms of psychological stability, food, and safe accommodation. Long-term support is education and modelled care, tailored to each child’s differing circumstances. CSWC greatly appreciates being invited to participate in this campaign as we have the opportunity to work with the professional fundraising and communications team of saigonchildren and MSD, and most importantly, we can contribute to helping children in difficult circumstances orphaned by COVID.” 

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Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren): A non-governmental organisation registered in the UK since 1992, operating entirely in Vietnam. With the mission to remove barriers to education for disadvantaged children, saigonchildren operates in many provinces and cities in Vietnam, with four core programmes: building schools and improving the school environment, scholarships for child development, vocational and skills training, and special needs education. Starting in 2020, saigonchildren has also been directly involved in emergency support for victims affected by COVID-19, and floods in the central region. 

Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD): As a Vietnamese NGO, MSD strives to promote favourable environments for the development of social organisations, and advocates for the actualization of rights for marginalised and vulnerable communities, especially the youth, women, and people with disabilities. MSD works in the fields of capacity building for social organisations and stakeholders, encouraging responsible business, and progressing and protecting rights for women and children. 

The Capacity Building and Support Center for Women and Children (CSWC): is a Vietnamese social, non-profit organisation established with a mission to improve the quality of life and to promote equal rights, respect and opportunities of sustainable development for disadvantaged women and children in society.

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