On the outskirts of Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is SOS Children's Village Mai Dich. Opened in 1989, it provides care for children who can no longer live with their family.
Mai Dich has a fast growing economy and population, attracting many migrants who are in search of a better life. However, many families and their children end up living in conditions of poverty.
Families struggle to stay safe
Although one of the richest cities in the country, there is a growing gap between the wealthy and the poor. For those living below the poverty line, life is full of challenges. They will often have to build their shelters in precarious locations, such as on the streets, in slums, or on wasteland. In these places, there is limited or no electricity and clean drinking water. Children growing up in poverty struggle to access free school, health care and other services.
Parents may find it hard to care for their children. In these circumstances, many drop out of school and work so as to contribute to the family income. These children might scavenge for rubbish on the street to sell on, or sell small goods.
Human trafficking: a national problem
Across the region, human trafficking is a terrible problem. Internal trafficking is often associated with rural-urban migration, meaning that children who migrate from rural areas to the cities on their own, are at high risk. Within Hanoi there are high levels of internal trafficking. Here, prostitution is prevalent and many young girls who are trafficked are forced into the sex trade.
How we help children in Mai Dich
When a child in Mai Dich can no longer live with their family, they can find a loving home in an SOS family. Here they are cared for by an SOS Mother, and supported to develop and thrive. Young children go to the SOS nursery, along with children from the local neighbourhood.
Older children attend the SOS school, which caters for pupils at both primary and secondary level. Teachers are well-trained, and give students special support when it's needed. The school has a canteen which give children a nutritious meal every day.
For young adults there is an SOS youth programme gives which support them to complete further education and vocational training courses. There is also an SOS vocational training centre at Mai Dich, where SOS mothers and co-workers are prepared for the important roles of caring for vulnerable children.
We believe every child in Mai Dich should grow up in a loving family environment. If you agree, please sponsor a child today.