“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”, this saying can apply to many incidents in our life, including the fight against COVID-19.
This is a garment manufacturing group of Tan Thieng commune, Cho Lach district, the Mekong delta province of Ben Tre. The group is one of the 19 cooperative groups financially supported as part of the Women Empowerment programme (WE), implemented by MCNV.
Founded in January 2019, the group has created job for 20 members, generating monthly income of around VND 3-4 million for each. The main products of the group are female clothings and beddings. Workers can choose to work full-time or part-time, work at the group’s facility or work from home.
Besides its flexibility, garment manufacturing is considered a safe choice of occupation (not depends on the nature) in the context of climate change and salt intrusion, which are getting more severe in Ben Tre.
In the first half of 2020, due to COVID-19, the group’s production was suspended for over 2 months. Nonetheless, instead of wasting time on feeling sorry for themselves, they took this chance to contribute to the community by making face masks. The fabric were provided by the commune authorities while the leader of the group, Ms.Nguyen Thi Ngoc Yen, used her pocket money to sponsor wage for the workers.
In March and April, 10,000 masks were produced and distributed as the gift of care to residents in the commune, the district, of which 5,000 were donated to local schools.
To acknowledge their dedication to the fight against COVID-19, Ben Tre provincial Women’s Union recently awarded Tan Thieng garment manufacturing group with the Certification of Recognition.
COVID-19 is now contained in Vietnam, and the group production has been restored since June. They are putting even more efforts in their works, which beautifies others and brighten their future, at the same time.
Representatives of three bamboo handicrafts groups recently took part in a tourism promotion cooperation workshop held in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province.
The event was held by Quang Tri province’s Investment, Trade and Tourism Promotion Agency (IPA) on June 29th, bringing together 100 delegates from local authorities, governing agencies and a number of interested enterprises in and outside Quang Tri.
Two representatives of three ethnic-minority production groups from Chenh Venh village (Huong Phung commune), Ta Puong village (Huong Viet commune), and Cu Bai (Huong Lap commune), Huong Hoa district were invited to the event with their delicate handicrafts made from Vietnam’s symbolic plant: bamboo.
Deep in the jungle of Huong Hoa where lived the skillful workers of Van Kieu ethnic minorities, bamboo was turned into beautiful and useful items: travel utensils, drinking straws, candle holders. These products were brought closer to potential customers thanks to the workshop.
This was also a great stride of Huong Hoa bamboo production groups since young female members could confidently take part in a networking event, where they could reach out to visitors who came from different business sectors. They took the chance to brief potential customers on the production process and at the same time, listening to their feedback to learn more about the market preference and demand. As the conversation went, more opportunities were unveiled.
From raw bamboo to exquisite products, from the forest to the market, it is a long journey. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”, and Huong Hoa bamboo handicrafts have made an impressive first step to success.
First Counsellor, EU Delegation to Vietnam, Mr.Tom Corrie, speaks at the event
The launching workshop of the project ‘Promoting sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change’ (PROSPER) was jointly organized by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) and Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group (SFCG) on June 26th, 2020 in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province.
The event brought together representatives of the Delegation of European Union in Vietnam, the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations), the provincial People’s Committee, the Department of Foreign Affairs, MCNV, enterprises in forestry sector and representatives of benefited communes.
PROSPER project is co-funded by the European Union (EU) and MCNV with total value of 800,000 Euro (period: February 15th 2020 – February 15th 2023), aiming to promote sustainable partnership between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forest management in the context of climate change. The workshop served as an information-sharing platform for the authorities, governing agencies, enterprises and forest owners. As part of the workshop, stakeholders will participate in a discussion to give suggestion for more effective implementation of the project.
Speaking at the event, Mr Tom Corrie, First Counsellor, EU Delegation to Vietnam said:
‘I’m pleased to be here today at the launching workshop of PROSPER project. The timing is good as the EVFTA has been ratified by both EU and Vietnam, and our Agreement on better timber/forest management entered into force just over a year ago. This project brings together many of EU’s interests here in Vietnam, on environment, trade, and sustainable development all within one single project. Implemented in Quang Tri, initiatives promoted under the project will be highly relevant for the wider context of Vietnam – a country among the most vulnerable nations to climate change and at high risk of deforestation’.
In Vietnam, sustainable forest management (SFM) and forest certification (FSC®) are two among five areas of the global and national Action Plan of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
Sustainable management of natural resources in the context of climate change requires good governance and commitment of local communities to engaging in environmentally responsible plans for land and forest use.
Quang Tri has been a pioneering province in engaging smallholders in SFM and FSC®. In 2014, the Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group (SFCG) Association became the first smallholders in Vietnam that was recognized as a legal entity and certified for FSC®.
Based on what have been achieved, PROSPER will be implemented through Quang Tri SFCG Association with the focus on building capacity on SFM and promoting supply chains of non-timber forest products and plantation timber for target groups of households and cooperative forest owners who join FSC®-certified acacia plantation as well as community and household forest owners of natural forest.
The project will assist 60 sub-associations of around 3,000 farmers who are household, cooperative and community forest owners. In the next 3 years, the project will help 1,500 hectares of plantation forests achieve FSC® status and SFM will be applied on 600 hectares of natural forests.
According to Mr.Pham Dung, MCNV Country Director, Quang Tri is MCNV’s key beneficiary locality, where the organization started its supports for Vietnam in 1968. For the past 15 years, MCNV has diversified its fields of support for Vietnam by implementing projects in livelihood, response to climate change, etc.
“We look forward to seeing the fruit of PROSPER, which will improve the prosperity of the people – smallholders, partner enterprises, maintaining the greenery of Quang Tri and contribute to the province’s sustainable development”, he said.
In Quang Tri province, MCNV is starting a new project in which we link the living conditions of small foresters to sustainable forest management. The project is called Prosper and is aimed at guiding a group of foresters in a sustainable way of working, allowing them to sell certified acacia wood at a better price in a few years. We help a second group with the production and processing of seeds from the tung tree into certified tung oil, a type of furniture oil. The oil gets a quality mark and the farmers a fair price. We also help farmers find companies that want to buy the wood and the oil.
What’s is the ultimate goal of INNOVATION and CREATIVITY, if not for the betterment of people’s lives?
Regardless of what your profession is, as long as you have the passion for invention, the aspiration to support independence and participation of persons with disabilities.
Homemade with Heart contest is for YOU !!!
The contest aims to stimulate the sharing of simple ideas and inventions that support the autonomy of persons with disabilities (PwDs) during their daily life activities. With two categories (Professional & Non-Professional), Homemade with Heart will help open a world of possibilities for PwDs and at the same time unlock your potential for creativity.
On today morning (June 2), together with representatives of 7 local and international NGOs, MCNV Country Director Pham Dung signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Medical Services Administration on cooperation in Rehabilitation.
Under the framework of the US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded agreement, collaboration activities will majorly focus on development of healthcare models and rehabilitation facilities for the disabled in the country, improve the law and policies on rehabilitation as well as improve the capacity of rehabilitation centres in several project areas.
The MoUs express the commitment of NGOs to effectively implement activities to reinforce Rehabilitation services and assistance for people with disabilities in Vietnam.
08 NGOs participating in the MoU signing ceremony are: Action for Community Development Center (ACDC); Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH); Humanity and Inclusion (HI); the International Center (IC); Institute of Population, Health and Development (PHAD); Center for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP); Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam (MCNV).
On the same days, 08 NGOs also participated in a Workshop on Rehabilitation Provisions under the revised laws on Medical Examinations and Treatment (LET).
According to the National Survey on People with Disabilities by the General Statistics Office (GSO), in 2016, over 7% of the population aged 2 years and older, (equal to around 6.2 million), have a disability. These percentages are expected to rise with the aging of the population, leading to a sharp increase in demand for Rehabilitation in the future.
Medical Committee Netherlands – Vietnam (MCNV) is a Dutch NGO that has provided support to health systems, community-based health care and community development programs towards improvement of quality of life for people in Vietnam since 1968. The Disability Program is one of the main programs of MCNV in Viet Nam at the time being.
MCNV implemented the project Early Detection (ED) – Early Intervention (EI) – Inclusive Education (IE) for children with disabilities in Cao Bang from 2002 to 2019. Before handing the project over to the local counterparts by the end of 2020, MCNV and the counterparts in Cao Bang have also agreed to carry out an end-of-project evaluation MCNV is seeking for a consultant to carry out this evaluation.
Slowly walking pass a large area of land that was just leveled in the mountainous village of Cup, Huc Nghi commune, Dakrong district, three Van Kieu ethnicity fellows excitedly share with one another about their plan in the near future.
“My land plot is quite large. I will use part of it for wetland rice cultivation, and use the rest for a chicken farm”, says Ho Van Che (41-year-old), with one hand on his crutch and the other pointing to his two plots of land which were just leveled.
“For myself, I am not married yet, and have to rely on my parents for living. I am going to roll up my sleeves to join my parents on the paddy field soon. Hopefully, I will be able to help produce more staple food for the family. It will also be a good way to reduce the helpless feeling!” Ho Van Ngoi, 36 years old, struggles to lift up his face while talking about his future plan.
Ngoi was born with a hunched-over upper body, making it difficult to cast his eyes to the front. Even though it is hard to see Ngoi’s whole face, we still can catch a glimpse of his smile.
Ho Van Nghien, 26 years old, softly predicts: “The rainy season is coming. The rainfall will nourish the soil and stabilize it. The end of the year will be the ideal time for sowing, and next year April it will be our first wetland rice harvest season”.
Nghien has got married and is now father of three sons. Like many households in Cup village, in order to earn enough for the family’s living, he and his wife spend most of their time working far from home on upland fields.
When the rainy season comes in early June, the couple start seeding. Robust seeds will be broadcast onto the mountainous soil, where they wait to sprout. In the next 3 or 4 months, the rice will be ready for harvest.
However, upland crop has only one season a year, yielding around five packets of rice (150 kg), only enough for the family to survive in three months.
While his wife spends time taking care of their children at home, Nghien has to take on extra works to afford the staple food for the rest of the year. One of the tasks Nghien is hired to work on is to harvest Acacia wood. He may get VND 150,000/working day. However, like many seasonal works, it cannot be a stable source of income.
“I am exhausted with upland rice cultivation, since I have to work far from home, and climb up the high hills.”
After a while of silence, Nghien confides: “It is tiring enough for a normal person, for people with disabilities like us, it is even tougher. From my house, I have to walk four kilometers on bumpy path to reach my rice field. It takes me over one hour to walk. I am visually impaired, so I still can walk like that. My two handicapped friends, Che and Ngoi, cannot do so”.
All of the three men, Che, Nghien and Ngoi have production land located nearby their houses. Their plots of land were provided by the commune authority. However, due to the infertility of the soil and rough topography, they could not work on their land.
The light of hope only arrives when they receive the support to level the land. They are now looking forward to harvest seasons on their ‘old yet new’ pieces of land.
Supporting ground leveling for agricultural and residential land and land use rights certification are the key activities of the project “Promoting access to residential and agricultural lands for households of ethnic minority people with disabilities” jointly implemented by MCNV, the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs of Quang Tri province, and the Association of People with Disabilities (PWDs) and Agent Orange/Dioxin victims, Sponsorship for PWDs and Child Rights Protection of Quang Tri province (Quang Tri DPO) in the mountainous districts of Dakrong and Huong Hoa.
The project is funded by the Royal Embassy of the Netherlands in Vietnam from July 2019 to December 2020. It is estimated that 100 households of PWDs like Che, Ngoi and Nghien will be supported in land leveling. At the same time, hundreds of households with PWDs will be benefited from better access to information, policy and services related to land use rights.
Quang Tri DPO will receive training to improve their capacity in assisting members to get access to the State’s policy for the disabled.
Yesterday, Che, Ngoi and Nghien were worried about their family’s future and the shortage of food. Today, they are looking forward to the day marking the first harvest season on their own land. That day is coming soon!