The city of Da Lat is in the south of Vietnam, and the capital of Lam Dong province. The north of the region is very mountainous, with 70% of the area covered in forests. There has been a movement of people from rural areas to cities.
Yet they arrive to find a new set of difficulties in urban areas. Life expectancy, literacy and average income are lower in the region than the national average. Since 1969, we have been caring for vulnerable children and supporting families in Da Lat community.
Children loose parental care
Many of those who live in Da Lat face harsh social and economic circumstances. Children are particularly affected by poor conditions, and some will loose parental care. The main reasons include: one or both parents have died due to AIDS, their parents have been affected by traffic or work-related accidents, or they have migrated internally or abroad. While some of these children will be left in the care of extended family, others will not be able to stay with relatives.
Human trafficking a national problem
In Vietnam, adults and children often migrate to cities in search of greater opportunities. Children who arrive on their own are at risk of being exploited and abused. Across the country human trafficking is a problem, with rural-urban migration associated with internal trafficking. Da Lat is reported to be one of the major destinations of internal trafficking, with the majority who are trafficked forced into prostitution.
Women and girls are especially vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. When a family if poor, girls are often taken out of school at an early age so that they can work in the home or on the family's land. Living in poverty, and with little education, girls are more likely than boys to end up in situation where they might be abused and exploited.
What does SOS Children do in Da Lat?
Through our family support programme, we help families in the community to stay together and provide good care for their children. When required, we give financial support to children in the local area so that they can meet their basic needs, including food, clothing and school costs. We also provide health and psychological counselling if needed, and at our medical centre we provide treatment to over 1,500 patients a year.
When a child cannot live with their parents or extended family, they can find a loving home our Children's Village. Here, they will live in an SOS family. Young children from SOS families and the neighbourhood attend the SOS nursery. Older children receive a quality education at the SOS school, which is for pupils at both primary and secondary level. At the school canteen children can receive a nutritious meal each day.
As they grow older, children are supported on their journey to independent life. The SOS youth programme in Da Lat was started in 1994, and supports young people while they attend further education or vocational training courses.
Vulnerable children are supported from nursery to independence in Da Lat. Will you make this work possible, and sponsor a child today?