Da Nang is the largest city in the south-central coast region of Vietnam. The city is home to one of the country's most important seaports.
Currently Da Nang is experiencing rapid population growth, with thousands moving to the city in search of work. Many of these new migrants live in informal settlements, which are often overcrowded and lacking basic infrastructure.
Families living in shanty towns
The north and south of Vietnam have historically been more developed than the central region. However, in recent years there have been increased government efforts in the region to encourage economic growth. Poverty is reducing and more people are accessing education and healthcare.
Despite these efforts, shanty towns continue to grow. Here, families live in poor conditions, and lack access to basic services and infrastructure.
Parents struggle to provide for their children
Unemployment is high in the region. This makes thousands of families incredibly vulnerable because if a parent loses their job, the family can quickly fall into poverty. In addition, opportunities to train and develop skills are also not widely available, making it difficult for adults who lack an education to find a job. Perhaps most vulnerable are single mothers, who often struggle to meet their children’s basic needs and school costs.
Children with disabilities especially vulnerable
The family's situation becomes especially difficult if a child has a disability, as it becomes even harder to meet their child's special needs. Parents may not be able to afford to travel to see specialists, nor be aware they can receive social assistance. Further, many schools are not accessible to children who have disabilities.
It is estimated that 1.2 million children in Vietnam have a disability. Tragically, many of these are due to exposure to Agent Orange chemicals, which were used by US military during the Vietnam War. Only about one-third of children receive treatment they need, and half remain illiterate.
What does SOS Children do for families in Da Nang?
In 1993, SOS Children began working in Da Nang. We support families through community-based programmes, and care for vulnerable children in our SOS Children's Village.
Our social centre offers struggling families with various services, so that they can care for their children, ensure they are safe and healthy, and can go to school. For parents who are struggling to meet the basic needs of their children, we provide monthly grants. Where needed, we also offer health counselling and psychological support.
How do we help children in need in Da Nang?
When a child cannot live with their biological family, they can find a loving home in an SOS family. Each family is headed by an SOS mother, who cares for a group of SOS brothers and sisters.
Young children attend SOS nursery, along with children from the neighbourhood. Here up to 190 children are taught. The SOS school is for primary and secondary level students, and has classrooms, laboratories, a library and a canteen. The nursery and the school are both open to children who live in the local neighbourhood.
Young people from the SOS Children's Village can join our SOS youth programme, and be supported to complete a vocational training course or higher education. We also offer young people the opportunity to go to workshops for basic technical training.
With your help, children and families in Da Hang are given the support they need to expand their opportunities and have a better future. Will you sponsor a child today?