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Homemade with Heart season #2 open for application

After the first successful season in 2020, Homemade with Heart is back this year!!

💁‍♀️💁‍♂️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.

🆙👉Check out the contest’s website to know more about the application https://homemadewithheart.vn/

This contest is brought to you by Humanity &Inclusion Vietnam and USAID, in partnership with MCNV, ACDC and JICA

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MCNV joins Quang Tri frontline fighters in the battle against COVID-19

MCNV representative (left) presents aid package to Huong Lap Healthcare Center.

Located amidst steep mountain slopes and winding, treacherous roads, Huong Lap is a poor, impoverished commune in Quang Tri Province, on the border with Laos. After being striken by the historic devastating flashfloods and landslides last October-November, the commune, at the moment, is finding itseft in the middle of the fierce battle against the fourth wave of COVID-19.

During the historic flood sweeping through Vietnam’s central region in October and November 2020, Huong Lap was completely secluded.

Since the start of the pandemic, Vietnam’s widely praised response to contain the virus has depended on three main pillars: (i) strict border controls, (ii) effective isolation of cases and their contacts and (iii) mobilization of public support. For the commune of Huong Lap, this meant maintaining a high vigilance along the porous border with Laos and their small healthcare center had to double as a clinic and quarantine facility.

Border guards had to spend extended periods away from their families, stay in basic border huts and maintain regular patrols along the dense forest tracks used as illegal crossings into Vietnam. For health workers, it meant testing and quarantining people who may have been at risk of infection from COVID-19. Since April 2021, Huong Lap Healthcare Center has quarantined 229 cases returning from localities affected by the pandemic across the country and 9 cases of illegal entry.

The aid package sponsored for Huong Lap Healthcare Center consists of four-layer medical masks, hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers, aneroid monitor for measuring blood pressure and solar-power lightings.

In order to assist Huong Lap commune in the battle against COVID-19, from May 28th to June 4th, 2021, the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV) presented aids worth over VND 50 million (~EUR 1790) to Huong Lap Healthcare Center and Border guard station.

The aid package sponsored for Huong Lap Healthcare Center consists of 5 aneroid monitor for measuring blood pressure, 5 digital infrared thermometers, 50 boxes of four-layer antimicrobial masks, 50 bottle of hand sanitizers (500ml/each) and 6 solar-powered lightings. The total value of the aid is VND 19.7 million.

The Huong Lap Healthcare Center has been providing basic healthcare services to local residents, majorly people of Van Kieu ethnic minority. On average, the Center receives 15-20 clients a day. During peak time, for instance, monthly vaccination day, this number can hit 200. At the moment, the Center has been struggling with several challenges caused by limited infrastructures, including power outages. Solar-powered lighting therefore is essential to help the Center maintain operations.

“We are extremely grateful for MCNV’s precious support. Your generosity has not only enabled us to upgrade our clinic and purchase vital equipment but also motivates us to strive harder in the battle against COVID-19.” exclaimed Doctor Nguyen Thi Mui, Head of Huong Lap Healthcare Center.

The solar-powered lightings installed at Huong Lap Heathcare Center

On this occasion, MCNV visited Huong Lap commune Border Guards Station and presented an aid package MCNV consisting of 02 gas stoves, gas tanks, electrical wires, 12 water containers and mini water filters, with total value of VND 31.5 million. The aid aims to help improve the living and working condition of the border guard forces, who have been dedicated vast efforts to control illegal entry in order to help prevent the locality from COVID-19 transmission.

On behalf of Huong Lap commune Border Guard Station, Colonel Nguyen Dinh Phu, expressed his gratitude to the timely and practical supports of MCNV to improve the living conditions of his officers stationed at the Huong Lap border patrol post. “My officers now have more energy, and their morale is high to continue their vital work, thanks to MCNV,” he said.

Colonel Nguyen Dinh Phu (left) installs the water filter.

In the next couple weeks, MCNV will provide electrical wires worth VND 20 million (~EUR 715) to support another Border guard station in Quang Tri in supplying power to new border checkpoints./.


Quang Tri is MCNV’s key beneficiary locality, where the organization started its supports for Vietnam in 1974. For the past 15 years, MCNV has diversified its fields of support for Vietnam by implementing projects in livelihood, response to climate change,social inclusion, etc. In addition to long-term development project, currently MCNV has been coordinating the effort of donors in and out of Vietnam to implement respond-to-crisis activities.

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Microfinance – an escape from poverty

Ms. Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo has always been a good mother who has sought to do the best for her family. However, the unstable income from seasonal work meant that she and her husband could never earn enough money to ensure a good life for themselves and their children. There seemed to be no easy path to escape from this poverty trap.

A turning point in her life arrived in 2017 when she joined the Vinh Tan Hamlet Microfinance Group (Vang Quoi Dong commune, Binh Dai district) which is supported by MCNV’s micro-finance project in Ben Tre Province.

A turning point arrived in 2017 when Thao got access to her first loan from the Vinh Tan Hamlet Microfinance Group.

An initial 5,000,000VND loan from this project enabled her to rear pigs to provide a more stable source of income. The initial success of this loan inspired Thao to encourage seven other women to participate in the project. They acquired further small loans to invest in livestock rearing and to build containers to ensure the supply of water during periods of severe drought.

In addition to rearing pigs and cows, this group of women also purchased sewing machines to provide additional income from garment production. This garment processing activity has been vital during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it has enabled the women to work safely from home whilst still earning an income.  

Thao (first, left) and two members in her group.

Thao is the leader of this group, and during the COVID-19 pandemic, she has managed to connect the group with a garment company to ensure they have continued to earn an income. Thao has also helped the group to comply with COVID-19 regulations to protect themselves and their communities.  Thao’s microcredit group have now saved enough money to purchase several new sewing machines.  Her dedication and success, together with MCNV’s support, has enabled the women in her group to earn decent incomes that are resilient to shocks such as COVID-19 and drought. This success has provided a pathway out of poverty and greater prosperity for themselves and their loved ones./.

  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • In 2020, the project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, including Binh Dai township, thanks to the funding of Microcredit for Mothers (MfM) foundation.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.
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Project on Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities concluded with encouraging results

Participants at the workshop

After nearly two years of implementation, the project “Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts” funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands has helped underprivileged people make a step closer to self-reliance and social inclusion.

With a total value of EUR 100,000, the project was jointly implemented by the Medical Committee Netherlands-Vietnam (MCNV), Quang Tri provincial Committee of Ethnic Minority Affairs (CEMA) and the province’s Association of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and Agent Orange Victims, Sponsorship for PWDs and Child Right Protection (DPO).

The project was concluded with a closing workshop held on May 4 th, 2021, in Dong Ha city, Quang Tri province, providing the stakeholders with insights of the project outcomes, challenges during the implementation process and post-project action plan.

The workshop brought together delegates of Quang Tri CEMA, Quang Tri DPO, Quang Tri Department of Natural Resources and Environment and representatives of 13 commune beneficiaries of 2 districts Dakrong and Huong Hoa.
Conducted in the format of a hybrid meeting, the workshop welcomed the virtual participation of Mr. Peeters Robbie, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam and Mr.Pham Dung, Country Director of MCNV Vietnam.

In nearly two years of implementation, the project has supported the leveling of residential land, agricultural production land and granting land use right certificates to ethnic minority households with PWDs in Dakrong and Huong Hoa district, facilitating independent livings and social inclusion.

Despite the setbacks of Covid-19 and the historic floods sweeping through Quang Tri in October-November 2020, the project has achieved significant results, with 112 ethnic minority households with PWDs received support to level residential land (13,558 m2) and agricultural land (84,080 m2). Meanwhile, 18 households was supported in the granting of land use rights certificates.
These supports have vastly contributed to PwD’s property ownership verification and lay a better foundation for their agricultural production.

Mr. Ho Van Che (Huc Nghi commune, Dakrong district) a beneficiary of the project “Realization of land use rights for ethnic minority people with disabilities in Dakrong and Huong Hoa districts”. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

As part of the project, a database consisting the information on the status of residential and agricultural production land of over 22,000 PwDs households was created, aiming to assist Quang Tri province in approaching the government’s related policies. The model is the first one of its kind that has ever been applied in Vietnam.
Moreover, the project provided PwDs with better access to policies on land use rights and related policies, services and procedures via training workshop, communication on awareness raising and capacity building for Quang Tri DPO.

Via these activities, the project contributed to accelerate the realization of the Resolution No. 10/2018/NQ-HĐND themed “Policy on supporting residential land and funding for granting certificates of land use rights, production land for poor ethnic minority households and poor households in the communes of region III and extremely difficult villages in the period 2019-2022”.
Despite the project has been concluded, the models piloted in the project are expected to contribute to realizing the National Target Program 2021-2030 on socio-economic development of ethnic minorities-inhabited areas, including two projects on land and resilient settlement.

Mr.Peeters Robbie speaks at the workshop.

Talking about the outcomes of the project, Mr. Peeters Robbie, the Second Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Vietnam, stated: “What has been achieved is something we can all be proud of”, considering the hurdles of Covid-19 and the floods hitting the region in October and November 2020. On the occasion, he highlighted the spirit of equality and equity in the longstanding cooperation between the Netherlands and Quang Tri province which is “still very much alive today.”

“For this project, we figuratively and quite literally are leveling the playing field”, he said, emphasizing the belief that everyone should have a fair opportunity to develop a living for themselves.

To conclude his speech, Mr. Robbie commended all the project partners on their hard work and results obtained and expressed his wish for field visit in the near future.

Speaking at the workshop, Head of Quang Tri province’s CEMA, Mr.Le Van Quyen highly appreciated the results of the project:

“The project has practically helped meet the need for residential and production land of PwDs, via the close cooperation between authorities of various sectors, including ethnic minorities affairs, natural resources and environment, land registration and non governmental organization,” he said.

The Head of Quang Tri CEMA also suggested a longer period of implementation of project related to land use rights, in order to create more profound impacts.

In the workshop, delegates also gave recommendations on how to improve access to land use rights for PwDs, suggesting Quang Tri DOP to take proactive step in mobilizing and diversifying sponsorships, including those from enterprises and the enhancement of communication and awareness raising activities on land use rights policy./.

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Early Detection – Early Intervention and Inclusive Education project in Cao Bang close

In the past 18 years, the project Early Detection – Early Intervention (ED-EI) and Inclusive Education project implemented by MCNV in Cao Bang province has practically benefited the locality in various aspects.

A classroom of the Support Center in Cao Bang.

The project is part of the Disability program kick started in April 2002 by MCNV in Cao Bang province, aiming to achieve three goals: (1) Capacity building for officials and teachers in ED-EI and education for Children with Disabilities (CwDs), (2) Enhancing the capacity of participatory authorities, especially the provincial Support Center for the development of Inclusive Education, equipping the Center with sufficient resources and expertises to adequately provide qualified services to CwDs in the province; (3) Fostering the capacity of systems that support and implement ED-EI for CwDs.

In order to achieve these goals, the establishment and development of the Support Center is regarded as the key component of the project.

After 18 years, the project was concluded in late 2020 and has already been handed over to Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training. In the project closing workshop held in late March 2021, Head of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training, Mr.Vu Van Duong and Prof.Dr. Le Van Tac, independent specialist who was in charge of the project final term evaluation, shared impressive figures and facts.

Breaktime on the Support Center’s yard.

According to the report, the Project has largely contributed to the vast increase of the percentage of CwDs attendance to school (from nearly 30% in 2002 to 89.1% in 2020). Currently, in Cao Bang province, 372 education institutions (among 503 preschools, primary schools, secondary schools,) are admitting CwDs.

Since the establishment of the Center, a total number of 560 CwDs have been admitted to the Center to be provided with necessary interventions, rehabilitation services and training on preschool skills, of which 453 students (80%) have been admitted to common schools. Meanwhile, 560 respective parents have been provided with consultancy services, helping them improve understanding of their children’s conditions, capabilities and manage to take better care of their children. 

As part of the project, thousands of screening, evaluation and training sessions were conducted, benefiting school officers, teachers and parents of CwDs across the province.

Infographic: The project outcomes

According to the report, in over the past 18 years, the project has created significant impacts on the development of the special education system, including accelerating the enforcement of Laws on Persons with Disabilities in Cao Bang, a mountainous province with distinctive cultural and social patterns , and predominant population of ethnic minorities.

Particularly, the establishment and stable operation of the Support Center has contributed to increasing equitable opportunities for CwDs in ED, EI and inclusive education.

In terms of policy, the project has produced and disseminated evidence-based results and examples to lay a essential foundation for relevant authorities to enact Laws on Persons with Disabilities. Thanks to the project, evidence-based research results and case studies have been generated and widely disseminated, laying solid foundation for the enactment of the Laws on Persons with Disabilities and policies at national and provincial level.

A teacher teaches students in the Support Center.

In addition to directly benefiting CwDs, their parents and teachers, the project benefited other stakeholders in terms of personal development via providing learning opportunities in reporting, human resources, project management, etc.

The model is evaluated as highly feasible in disadvantaged mountainous provinces. Cao Bang province experiences are suitable to be applied to other provinces, especially in mountainous regions.

*Stakeholders’ Testimonials:

We highly appreciate the long-term commitment, professional and enthusiastic support of MCNV for the education sector of Cao Bang in early detection-early intervention and special education. MCNV has played the most important role in making the Disability program successful here. 18 years of support by MCNV is a long journey. It’s hard to have such a long-standing and close relationship like that.  (Leader of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training)

“MCNV works in a professional manner with great expertise, which made every supporting activities efficient and suit the needs of the locality and the beneficiaries.(Officer of Cao Bang provincial Department of Education and Training)

“The percentage of CwDs attending school has been on the rise while the number of dropout decreases. The coordination between school and family is getting more effective, which is considered an outcome of the project.”   (Management of local common school admitting CwDs)

“With the aforementioned outcomes, MCNV realizes that it is the time to hand over the project to Cao Bang Department of Education and Training. The Department is now ready to take charge of the next phase to make the best out of the past achievements, helping CwDs better integrate into the community and ensuring the implementation of their rights”.   (MCNV representative)  

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EU Delegation visits PROSPER project site (April 2021)

On April 14th & 15th 2021, a delegation of the European Union (EU) visited three districts of Hai Lang, Huong Hoa and Cam Lo of Quang Tri province, where the EU-funded project “Promoting sustainable partnerships between CSOs and enterprises for sustainable forestry management in the context of climate change” (PROSPER) has been implemented by MCNV and partners for over the past one year.

Ms. Camille G. Lavirotte, (Deputy Head of Finance, Contracts & Audit, Attachée), (fourth, right); Ms. Hong Anh Nguyen (Programme Manager) (fifth, left); Ms. Thuy Ngoc Dinh (Finance & Contracts Officer) (fourth, left); MCNV staff and SFCG Quang Tri.

The field trip aimed to provide the EU Ddelegation and MCNV the insight of the first-year achievement of PROSPER via visits to various forest plantations, natural forests and plant nursery of Quang Tri Smallholder Forest Certification Group (SGCG) Association, and participating cooperatives, including pine and acacia plantation of Phu Hung Cooperative (Hai Le commune, Hai Lang district) and hi-quality acacia nursery of Keo Son cooperative (Cam Nghia commune, Cam Lo district).

During the field trip, the EU delegates met with leaders of SFCG sub-associations, community forest groups and households who were beneficiaries of the PROSPER project in Ho village (Huong Son commune), Chan May Eco Bio Agricultural Cooperative and Chenh Venh village (Huong Phung commune) in Huong Hoa district.

Ms. Hong Anh Nguyen (left), Programme Manager, EU Delegation to Vietnam visited Phu Hung cooperative, Hai Lang district.

Leaders of these sub-associations and groups took the chance to brief the EU Ddelegation on the activities they have been participating in as part of the PROSPER project in the last one year, including: setting out sustainable forests management rules and regulations, forest patrol and audit in combination with forest nourishing, exploiting non-timber forest products, etc.

Chenh Venh village forest group representative briefs the EU Delegation on the group’s current activities and plan in the time to come.

At the same time, representatives of the project beneficiaries shared with the EU delegates and MCNV about their action plans in the coming years, focusing on sustainable forest management and community livelihood development, expansion of the plantation area of tung trees (an indigenous plant with various economic potentials), participation in the sustainable tung oil supply chain, enhancing the community coordination in Forest Stewardship Council certification (FSC®) rattan and bamboo trade, eco- tourism, etc.

The hi-quality acacia nursery of Keo Son (Cam Nghia commune, Cam Lo district).

PROSPER, with a total value of EUR 800,000 (EUR 600,000 funded by EU and EUR 200,000 by MCNV), is implemented by MCNV and the SFCG Association of Quang Tri in the period of February 2020 – February 2023.
The project will assist 60 sub-associations of around 3,000 farmers who are household, cooperative and community forest owners. In the 3 years, the project will help 1,500 hectares of plantation forests achieve FSC® certificates and sustainable forests management will be applied on 600 hectares of natural forests.

After the first one year, despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, various key activities of PROSPER has been successfully implemented, including: assisting the participation in the FSC forest certification to implement sustainable forest management, promoting sustainable supply chain of non-timber forest products, establishing an acacia nursery, expanding the area of forest plantation, facilitating access to the smartphone application of the SFCG Association for forest management, etc.

*Infographic: PROSPER first-year achievement

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Home-based job benefits poor women in Ben Tre

Strong, durable, and reusable, tote bag is becoming a popular choice of shoppers nowadays. Day by day, those eco-friendly products are being produced by diligent home-based worker like Ms. Vo Thi Ngoc Trinh (Binh Dai district, Ben Tre province).

A bag made by Trinh.

Ms.Trinh is a resident of Loc Thanh hamlet, Loc Thuan commune. She is married and has a 7-year-old daughter. Trinh’s husband is a mason, who often travel far from home to work. For a woman who has to balance between her income-earning activities alongside childcare and domestic responsibilities like Trinh, a home-based job is the most suitable choice.

“As a member of a local Microcredit group, I got access to a loan worth VND 7 million (~EUR 270) to purchase a sewing machine. Thank to it, I started working from home as a tote bags maker since 2020”, Trinh said, while putting together pieces of cloth and carefully stiches.

Trinh has been outsourced by a local factory through an intermediary. Every week, the intermediary visits her one to two times, to collect the finished products and supply extra materials. The money Trinh earned depends on the quantity of products she completes.

“On average, I make around VND 80,000 – 100,000 each day (VND 2.4 million to 3 million per month).

“Working from home allows me to earn some money while still can manage to do chores and take my daughter to school”, said Trinh.

“The income earned by my husband and me is just enough for us make end meets. My daughter is at grade one of primary school now, hence the expense has increased, as we have to pay for tuition fee, textbook and stationery, etc.”

Ms.Trinh and her daughter

“I don’t think we will have more kids, as I’m afraid that we cannot afford to raise them”, Trinh said.

“At the moment, my husband and I just want to save enough money to renovate this house, especially the kitchen, it is too shanty”, she said./.

Trinh wants to save enough to renovate her shanty house.
  • The Micro Credit and Saving project in Binh Dai district was launched by MCNV and sponsors in 2009.
  • In 2020, the project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, including Binh Dai township, thanks to the funding of Microcredit for Mothers (MfM) foundation.
  • The project has been expanded to 11 communes and townships, providing financial services and facilitate socio-economic inclusion for over 5,000 disadvantaged and poor women, supporting household economy development, response to saltwater intrusion and new rural development.
  • Nowadays, the project has become financially self-sustained, and is being conducted with the permission of the State Bank of Vietnam, Ben Tre provincial branch.

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Homemade with Heart contest open for application

🌼 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.

🆙👉Check out the contest’s website to know more about the application https://homemadewithheart.vn/

This contest is brought to you by Humanity &Inclusion Vietnam and USAID, in partnership with MCNV, ACDC and JICA

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MOU signed with MOH on promoting Rehabilitation in Vietnam

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.

For more information:

https://vietnamnews.vn/society/717596/msa-partners-with-eight-ngos-in-improving-rehabilitation-activities.html

https://vietnamtimes.org.vn/eight-ngos-support-vietnam-improving-rehabilitation-activities-20987.html

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Highland: Harvest seasons await!

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.

(From the left) Three fellows of Van Kieu ethnicity: Ho Van Che, Ho Van Ngoi and Ho Van Nghien. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

 “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”.

Ho Van Ngoi (left) and Ho Van Che. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

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.

Ho Van Che is looking forward to his bright future. Photo: Phan Tan Lam

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!

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