The Danish Vietnamese Association (Dansk Vietnamesisk Forening/DVA) har conducted a survey that reveals that Vietnam’s vulnerable children believe in a better future, and they know that it takes studying and a good health to achieve it.
Interviews with 50 children from two shelters in Ho Chi Minh City unfold a daily life full of threats to their health, welfare and security. Nonetheless, the survey also shows that they believe in a better future.
They have plenty to struggle with, those boys and girls aged 9 to 18 years: “They all have in common, that they had to leave their families, who weren’t able to take care of them, and now they live in a boy’s or a girl’s shelter in Ho Chi Minh City,” Danish Project Coordinator, Freddy K. Pedersen explains.
Drugs, forced labour and sexual abuse
“If they don’t receive any help and care they are at the risk of ending up on the streets exposed to serious threats to their safety and health,” Freddy continues.
The kids themselves point to three specific worries: the risk of drug addiction, to end up in forced labour and to be sexually abused. In total 44.7 percent of the kids in the survey mention those three specific risks as the most pressing threats to their safety, reports the DVA. Other threats they mention are the risk of getting sick, ending up in crime, getting kidnapped, and violence.
The way to a better future
“The good news is,” says Freddy K. Pedersen, “that the shelters seem capable of giving the children hope of a better future, and a belief that they themselves can do something to achieve it.”
When asked in the survey what they consider most important to them, they mention ’a good health’, ’a good job’ and ’a promising future.’
“That they know how to achieve it is proved by the fact that they see ’going to school’, ’vocational training’ and ’food/safe housing’ as their foremost needs.”
An unexplored field
The survey is one out of three surveys with the purpose of exploring the life conditions of shelter, street and migrant children in Ho Chi Minh City. They are conducted by the Vietnamese NGO, Ho Chi Minh City Child Welfare Association (HCWA) with financial and technical support from the Danish Vietnamese Association (DVA). The surveys are carried out as a part of DVA’s and HCWA’s Children’s Rights Project.
The findings from the surveys will be used to identify future focus areas of HCWA’s work with vulnerable children. The findings will also be used by HCWA in their effort to raise awareness in the Vietnamese public and among authorities on the needs and rights of vulnerable children; an issue which has been left almost unexplored until now.
Information Meeting in Copenhagen
On 22 September 20126 the DVA is having a public meeting where Project Coordinator Freddy K. Pedersen will tell more about the survey findings, and Sepideh Foroosh from The Shelter Collection will explain about the rehabilitation work with sexually abused girls at Little Rose Warm Shelter, one of the two shelters involved in the survey.