The non-profit charity organization Wandi Union in Hoi An, Vietnam was established over a year ago by a Swedish family who came to the country just before the pandemic hit. In a recent update, the Embassy of Sweden in Vietnam shares the founder Kawa Wandi and his wife Nishte’s story about how the pandemic has had devastating consequences for the Vietnamese people and how the couple established Wandi Union to provide some much-needed relief to the people who have been left jobless due to closed borders and no tourists visiting Vietnam for over a year.
Here is their story:
My name is Kawa Wandi, I live in Hoi An, Vietnam with my wife Nishte and our triplets Leah, Alexander, and Joline, 6 years old. We are from Stockholm, Sweden.
It is hard not to fall in love with Vietnam and the people of Vietnam. When we left Stockholm we were looking for a place with good weather, we found that and much more here. The warmth of the kind people, the rich culture, the beautiful nature, and the social life were some of the many reasons that we chose to stay.
It didn’t take long after we arrived in Hoi An before the pandemic broke out.
Despite the hard situation around the world we decided to stay in Vietnam and not move back to our home in Sweden. With the pandemic, we saw that the situation in Vietnam became more and more difficult for many families. Many lost their jobs in the tourism industry. We quickly decided to reach out to people and help those in need. We didn’t feel good about seeing the
Vietnamese people suffer, a people we got to know, a people who have always been kind and respectful towards us, and a country that welcomed me and my family with love and open arms. Vietnam is very dear to our hearts.
For over a year now we have been focusing on our charity organization, Wandi Union. As the pandemic spread we saw that the people were suffering. Vietnam has been closed for almost 1,5 years and it has been devastating for many people.
Not only did they have to face the difficult situation they were in due to covid-19, but the rainy season was also approaching and 2020 turned out to be one of the worst with floods, storms, and typhoons. We decided despite the dangerous roads to go out to the affected areas, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Phuc Son, Tay Giang, and Dong Giang to help the people by providing food, clothes, medicine, nutrition, and school materials for the children. Many areas were over flooded and the only way for us to distribute the food was by small boats, a very risky mission.
In Axur in Tay Giang we installed a water purification system that has a capacity of producing 200-liter clean water per hour. Something that changed the life of the over 400 villagers, it was a joy for us to give them that.
The latest wave has definitely been the toughest one. Seeing people not only losing their jobs but also not having any savings left have been heartbreaking. It is hard to put a plate of food on the table for many families these days.
We had a food drive 1,5 months ago, where we served 3260 lunches in 13 days to people in quarantine facilities and the poorest in Hoi An. We are now in the middle of food distribution to poor families in and around Hoi An.
All our charity work is funded by us, our families, and friends around the globe, our local friends have kindly been volunteering on all our projects. Forever grateful for them and everyone who can help us to continue our work to fight against poverty. We are lucky to have people like Mr. Tri Trang and Mr. Nguyen Van Lanh by our side, they have been very helpful and supportive by making sure that our projects have been smoothly operated.
We all have to remember that we breathe the same air, we have to help each other in difficult times that one encounters in life. Today we are helping people in need, tomorrow maybe it is us who need their help. Living a life with purpose is the greatest gift of all.
Thank you for reading. If you are interested in our work and how you can help please follow us on Instagram @wandiunion