Pleiku is the capital city of Gia Lai province in the central highlands of Vietnam. The province has an ethnically mixed population of around 1.5 million. Gia Lai province has one of the lowest incomes in the country.
People who live here cultivate tea, coffee and rubber or work in the forestry industry. As with other rural areas of Vietnam, many struggle to make a decent living. People with limited income and resources are badly affected by natural disasters and it is hard for them to recover from the destruction.
Since 2013, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Pleiku.
There has been much progress in Vietnam to provide education for all, but many young people still face obstacles to access quality education. Finding employment in many sectors is challenging, because among those between aged 16–30 as many as 86% have not undertaken any technical training, and only 6.4% have university level technical capacity. As a result, young adults who do not have a steady income sometimes have no choice but to move elsewhere in search of regular work.
To prepare young people for an ever-changing job market, they need to be able to develop their skills through vocational training. This will increase the chances of stable livelihoods and families staying together.
Despite advances in reproductive health and maternal childcare in recent years, childbirth still poses risks due to limited access to health care. Maternal mortality is five times higher in mountainous regions like Gia Lai, than the national average. Households with only one parent often struggle to meet their children’s needs and provide their basic needs.
When a child has a disability, the situation becomes especially challenging. An estimated 1.3 million children in Vietnam live with disabilities many of them due to exposure to Agent Orange chemicals. Only around one-third of them receive treatment, and half of them do not learn to read and write.