Since the days of the Vietnam war, Vietnam’s people and economy have seen tremendous improvement. This is in large part thanks to Doi Moi, a sweeping economic reform which began in 1986 and turned Vietnam’s economy into a market-driven one – rather than the tightly state-controlled economy that existed there before. While the country’s wealth saw a drastic improvement, as did the poverty rate, income inequality is prevalent in the country, meaning that many people still live in poverty. Here are five ways to help correct this inequality and help people in Vietnam:
- Support education. Ensuring that poor children have a chance at a good education is essential in any country that wishes to see the cycle of poverty broken. In Vietnam, quality education for children can be supported in two ways: by sponsoring a child individually or by donating money to organizations committed to improving education in Vietnam. The Children of Vietnam is one such organization, providing direct educational, nutritional, medical and housing assistance to children and families in need.
- Invest in the country’s infrastructure. Infrastructure work not only creates thousands of jobs in and of itself, but also provides people living in rural areas with access to transportation, communication, electricity and clean water. In some areas, building a single road or bridge would make a huge difference in the quality of life.
- Help provide access to microfinance. Any poor person in Vietnam who hopes to start or grow a small business will need a loan to begin work. Yet, access to these types of loans is scarce and unreliable, and most people in Vietnam are forced to take private loans from their friends and family. To help people in Vietnam improve their livelihood, it is essential to make these loans more widely available. Currently, the Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, the People’s Credit Fund System and the Bank for Social Policies are all working to make these loans more accessible for poor people trying to better their lives.
- Support healthcare. As the best healthcare tends to be concentrated in large cities, rural citizens are often left with low quality care or no care at all. The East Meets West Foundation (a nonprofit in which U.S. residents partner with citizens of Vietnam) hopes to change this, providing low-income families with clean water, education and medical care.
- Demand government transparency. Unfortunately, both the government and charitable organizations in Vietnam have, throughout the years, been extremely susceptible to corruption which more often than not results in poor people losing out. Funds promised to the poor are embezzled or mismanaged, and charities promising food and other products cut costs, meaning that they receive low quality items. To truly make Vietnam’s poor a priority, the country and its organizations must become more accountable.
Though Vietnam’s economy has improved greatly in a relatively short amount of time, many of its poorest citizens are left in the dust. And while there are many small things to do to help people in Vietnam, these being just a few of them, it will take the country actively deciding to make its own impoverished people a priority for real change to occur.
– Audrey Palzkill