The city of Vinh is situated at the mouth of the Songka River, about 300 km south of Hanoi, in the mountainous Nghe An province. The province is one of the largest in the north central area of Vietnam. Out of approximately 340,000 inhabitants, it is home to a large number of ethnic minorities who live in remote areas and are marginalized. Despite ongoing efforts to implement poverty reduction and socio-economic development programs in the region, ethnic minorities lack access proper housing, sanitation, and other basic services.
Since 1991, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Vinh.
The social and economic conditions in the region mean that not all children get the best start to life: ethnic minorities and people with disabilities experience various forms of exclusion. Although ethnic minorities account for 15% of the total population, the rate of mortality of children under 5 among this group is 3.5 times higher than for the Kinh majority.
Education remains out of reach for many, because although they are not charged fees, they cannot afford the other costs (books, transport and uniforms) involved. Among the 1.3 million children with disabilities in Vietnam, the lack of education is even more critical as, only 1 in 10 attends secondary school.
It is estimated that around 17% of the population of Vinh lives in poverty, a situation that has attracted investment from international aid organizations in order to improve socio-economic conditions.
Vinh has potential for economic growth due to its strategic position. Although the transport links are good, other infrastructures, such as the sewage and water treatment facilities, are in need of upgrading. Across Vietnam, in smaller sized cities like Vinh, 40% of households are not connected to water supply systems.