Supporting community to improve livelihoods

Nguyen Thi Duyen’s Story

My name is Nguyen Thi Duyen and I live with my husband, My, and our two children, ages 9 (girl) and 14 (boy), in a slum of Hiep Tri hamlet, Phuoc Trung commune. My husband and I grew up and married in this commune and have always been quite poor, however we have positive hopes for our future.


My is the breadwinner of our family. Sometimes he goes fishing in the local channels, and during harvest season he transfers rice packs but lately he has been suffering chronic back pain. All of his jobs are unstable and dependent on the season. In recent years the climate has changed so much, when it rains heavily for long periods my husband cannot earn any money.

I have always tried to find work to contribute to our family’s income, however my low blood pressure prevents me from doing jobs that involve working outside. Our income fluctuates greatly and we have very little for our family’s daily expenses.


Considering both our health issues, as well as the negative impacts that the change in weather is having on our community, it seemed impossible that we could improve our situation. One day, however, we received information from our village leader about a Biosafety Goat Raising Model (BGRM) as part Save the Children’s “Child-centred Climate Resilience Project” in Tien Giang.

When we found out about this model my husband and I were thrilled and registered eagerly. Every day I prayed for good news to come to our house and how happy I was when the Agriculture Extension Center Officer and village leader told us we had been selected as model recipients and would receive a pair of goats that year!


In June the hamlet leader delivered the goats to our home and we cried with joy. Since then we have started training sessions on the topics of climate change and it’s impact on peoples lives, technical assistance for building a goat cage, how to raise them, disease treatment and prevention. We often have gatherings for members of the BGRM at our house so we can share our experiences and concerns with each other.

Goats are a good option in our province as they adapt easily to climate change and contract fewer diseases than other livestock. In addition, we don’t need to invest much money to raise them as we can cut grass around our house to feed them. Since the day the goats arrived our house is a happier place. The children support their father to collect grass for the goats and take care of them after school.

We have great plans for our goats in the future. When the male goat has gained enough weight he will be sold and we will buy a new female to breed, so we are able to increase the number of goats we have. Our family can use the goat meat and milk in our cooking, as well as increasing our income by selling it at market. With the profit my first priority is to invest in my children’s schooling, and then I will seek treatment for my husband’s backaches.

This livelihood model is part of a broader Save the Children’s “Child -Centered Climate Resilience” in Tien Giang Province which aims to support 7 communes in Go Cong Dong District and Go Cong town to adapt to extreme weather variation and to sustain their livelihoods through introducing organic cultivation and environment friendly livestock raising.

Pupils empower pupils

In a small classroom, two kids were in the role of teachers were instructing 30 others pupils at the same age, not about regular subjects but about child rights and how to protect themselves from risk of abuses.


The children were brilliant in facilitation. They provide their friends with games, quizzes and a lot freedom for discussions which is not common in the class of Vietnamese regular schools, making the session so loud and fun.

It is the Save the Children’s initiative to empower the children with knowledge about their rights and skills to protect themselves through peer-to-peer education.


Instead of providing regular teaching sessions at schools, Save the Children trains selected children to be key facilitators who then pass information on the rights of the children and the prevention method for their friends in order to protect themselves from all kinds of abuse.

This is part of the organization project “Improved Protection and Quality Education for Migrant and other Marginalised and Vulnerable Children in Ho Chi Minh City, funded by IKEA Foundation.


The project aims to support children’s access to a safe and secure school environment and promote awareness on the children’s rights. Apart from trainings, Save the Children helps the children initiate ideas on building confidential communication channels and extra activities in regards to child protection. The project is being implemented in 16 schools in two districts of Cu Chi and Go Vap until 2016.

From 10-15 November, an IKEA IWitness delegate visited schools under the project as a field-based study tour to see what a difference IKEA’s support makes in the lives of children growing up in some of the world’s poorest communities.

“I witness” Save the Children’s works

From November 10-15, Save the Children in Vietnam hosted an IWitness field visit, where representatives from IKEA, Save the Children Switzerland, and Save the Children Sweden were visiting special project locations in Ho Chi Minh City. 12 000 children will benefit from Save the Children in Vietnam’s and IKEA Foundation’s joint project during a two year period and it will change the lives and the future of children as well as communities in HCM City.


Every year, the IKEA Foundation donates €1 for every soft toy sold in participating IKEA stores in November and December, the Soft Toy for Education campaign. The donation goes to Save the Children and UNICEF, and is spent on children’s educational projects in Europe and Asia. Vietnam is one of the chosen countries to receive donations since early 2000s.


Since 2003, the Soft Toys for Education campaign has raised nearly € 67 million, supported 99 projects in 46 countries and helped more than 11 million children receive a better education.

The IKEA co-workers across the world work hard to sell as many soft toys as possible during the Soft Toy for Education campaign. The aim of IWitness field visits is for IKEA co-workers to see with their own eyes where the donations go and see how the Save the Children together with the IKEA Foundation change the lives of vulnerable children.


Save the Children in Vietnam, with the support of IKEA Foundation, is implementing a two year project ‘Improved Protection and Quality Education for Migrant and other Marginalised and Vulnerable Children in Ho Chi Minh City”, protecting marginalized children, supporting children’s access to a safe and secure school environment with functioning protection mechanisms, and promoting awareness on children’s rights and participation among duty-bearers at municipal and communal level as well as the civil society.


The project is being implemented in 18 schools in two districts of Cu Chi and Go Vap under Ho Chi Minh City administration, whereby as a result of the support of IKEA foundation jointly with Save the Children, 12,000 children will benefit by the end of 2016, including 2,000 marginalized children, out of which 500 are children living in shelters under the Buddhism Association in the city.

According to Vietnam’s Government, about 70,000 children in HCM City living in special circumstances including those with disabilities, orphans and abandoned children, street children, children affected by HIV/AIDS and children in conflict with the law. These figures exclude an estimated 300,000 migrant children, who without proper registration are incredibly vulnerable to discrimination, neglect and lack access to quality education and protection services. Currently, there are about 4,000 those children living in more than 60 child care shelters run by local NGOs/ CSOs.

Stop corporal punishment against children

Save the Children in Vietnam has launched a campaign “stop corporal punishment against children” in 40 primary and secondary schools in HCM City in the school year 2014-2015.


Through trainings, Save the Children provided parents and teachers with information about the rights of children, active methods to educate them instead of corporate punishment and ways to create friendly education environment.

The school’s parents and teachers are asked to sign the commitment of ending any physical and psychological punishment against children at home and in the school. The campaign is a part of a Save the Children’s project “‘Improved Protection and Quality Education for Migrant and other Marginalised and Vulnerable Children in Ho Chi Minh City” sponsored by IKEA Foundation from 2014-2016.


The project aims to protect marginalized children, supporting them to have access to a safe and secure school environment. It is also to promote the awareness by duty- barriers and communities on children’s rights and participation.

About 12,000 children are expected to benefit from the project, including 2,000 marginalized children, out of which 500 are children living in shelters under the Buddhism Association in the city.

The campaign has been aired through national and local media:



Save the Children marks International Day for Disaster Reduction

More than 800 people paraded through streets of My Tho town in Tien Giang Province to appeal for natural disaster reduction efforts on Sunday 13 October.


The event, organised by Save the Children in collaboration with international organisations working in Tien Giang province, marked the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction on 13th October every year.

This is a day to celebrate how people and communities are reducing their risk to disasters and raising awareness about the importance of disaster risk reduction. It’s also a day to encourage every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster resilient communities and nations.


This year, the event especially focuses on the role of older men and women in frostering resilience as older persons are vulnerable and suffer disproportionately high levels of death and injuries during disasters.


Tien Giang province is located on the coastal line of Mekong River that is prone to flood and storm every year. Since 2002, Save the Children has been implemented disaster risk reduction projects to support children and people of the province to better prepare for flooding seasons and build up resilient ability to cope with the consequences of disasters and climate changes.

Save the Children has worked in Vietnam since 1990s in both areas of humanitarian and development. Since 1990s, the aid organization has been providing foods and emergency items for people when a disaster hits the country.

Save the Children provides life-saving items for children in flood-affected areas and trains the children and their communities to minimize the risks of disasters

Climate Change Resilience by Urban Children in Asia: Save the Children workshop

On 23rd Sept 2014, Save the Children International in Vietnam had organized a Regional workshop in Hanoi on Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children in Asia.


The workshop was held within the research project funded by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (via the Rockefeller Foundation-supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network). The research adopted an ecological contextualist approach where it integrated the framework for urban climate resilience (from the perspective of planning and intervention measures) with three vulnerability domains: physical, politico-legal and socio-economic, to more fully capture the complex web of risks due to climate change that affects children particularly when living in urban poverty.

The project aimed to outline the key vulnerabilities of urban children to climate change, barriers to effective climate change adaptation which make it difficult for children to enjoy and adults to safeguard their rights and thus provided recommendations the following adaptation measures to safeguard and promote urban children’s rights. This project has been conducted in the central coastal city of Da Nang as well as cities in Bangladesh and the Philippines, said international consultant Sudeshna Chatterjee.

Migrant and homeless children, children living in informal housing and children engaged in labour were more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in Da Nang.

Nguyen Minh Hung, deputy director of Da Nang’s Education and Training Department, said that the department was compiling a set of documents about climate change adaptation that would be integrated with subjects such as Geography and Citizen Education. The documents would provide students from primary to high school level with basic skills for adapting to climate change.

Da Nang and other central coastal localities are hit hardest by climate change and extreme weather. One or two strong storms have battered the city annually in recent years and flash floods and landslides have become more frequent, damaging local schools and infrastructure, Hung said.

Heat waves and environmental pollution also caused health problems for children, especially those who were underprivileged or disabled, he added.

The aim of the workshop is to provide initial results and received feedbacks from donors, government bodies and non-governmental organizations in order to fine-tune the research results

Poverty is not our choice

By Pham Viet Hung

Le Thi De turned over a couple of fried cakes and swiftly served her long queue of customers. The 57-year-old woman who has been known for her delicious home-made traditional cakes said she was looking forward to opening her business in town for more income.


In the past years, she had undergone such a very difficult situation to survive and support her family.

Early 1980s De and her husband ran a sewing factory but it went bankrupt. The family went through a crisis as they did not have land as many people in the neighborhoods did, to grow rice or crops for living.

“We had to borrow boats from our neighbours and went to fish for sale in the market. Every day we got up at 3am to go fishing and returned to the house at lunch time. In the afternoon, both of us worked as casual labourers such as laundry or grass removal on the rice fields for people”, De said.

“Later, I started making cakes to sell for children and local vendors because we lived close to the market and school”, she said.

In 2011, De was introduced to Save the Children’s Golden Hands Programme which aimed to support poor women with young children to improve the household incomes so to gain better lifestyle for their children.

Le Thi De 2

De borrowed VND3.510.000 (US$ 167) to invest in her business including buying cake ingredients and upgrading the house’s yard for people to sit on. The business was going well and De has been engaged in three loans since then. De said the average income now is about VND10million ($476) a month.

Nowadays, De’s two children have grown up and life has become much easier for her.

“I found myself more active and sociable since I have joined Golden Hands. Keeping up with monthly installments is not troublesome, while the credit officers are always willing to lend me a hand or give me wise advice” she said.

“A few months ago, I was invited to participate in the programme’s workshop from where I had an opportunity to meet with other beneficiaries. I have learned a lot from such an event”, she said.

Completed IKEA project improves ethnic minority children confidence in school

By Mau Lan Phuong, IKEA project officer – Save the Children in Vietnam

Early in the morning, a local teacher rode me through the mountainous path to reach Pa Nang primary school, which is 18 km distant from Dakrong district center, Quang Tri province, 600km from Hanoi capital city.


This is the final trip of the IKEA project team to the district before the project exit with an aim to conduct the qualitative evaluation for the project end-line review.

The project started in 2009 to support the children of Van Kieu ethnic minority who would struggle at regular schools because of language barrier. The project has implemented different interventions in the district to improve the quality of teaching and learning, focusing on strengthening teacher’s capacity through training courses on active learning methodologies, second-language teaching techniques and professional teacher’s meetings.

We all felt the mixture of eagerness to explore the project impacts to the local beneficiaries, and pity of leaving. Van Kieu ethnic children welcomed us with warm bright eyes and shy smiles. My first impression about the school after three years of project implementation was that the children are much more confident and sociable. During the class observation, the children were given more chances to do individual work and pair work, and to express their ideas in front of the class. They were encouraged to answer questions and received the teacher’s compliments and comments from their peers. This is an encouraging change compared to the mono-lecturing lessons in the past years, in which the children passively listen to the teacher. This change was contributed by the teacher’s efforts to apply second language teaching methods and conduct the professional teacher’s meetings. Instead of judging the teachers, now the professional teacher’s meetings focus on the children’s learning activities to find out solutions to improve their learning effectiveness.

After the class observation, instead of conducting an interview with the children, I organized a forum with ice-breaking games, group activities and give the stage for the children to talk. The children’s timidity gradually disappeared, replaced by exciting discussions and talk. They expressed their strong interest to go to school, where they not only learn but also have fun through extra-curricular activities. Their bright smiles and naïve voices still fulfill my mind on the way back.

Climate Change Risks and Resilience in Urban Children – Save the Children’s Research funded by IIED

Climate change is a key challenge facing children all over the world, making child rights difficult to enjoy by children and safeguard by adults, society and governments. Research now shows that climate change significantly impacts children’s right to life, survival and development. However, in the urban context, there is little research looking specifically at the vulnerabilities of children to climate change impacts. City case studies carried out by Save the Children in Asia seeks to better understand the risks faced by vulnerable children in urban areas, and how climate change may exacerbate these.


No doubt children’s still evolving development makes them physiologically and metabolically less able than adults to cope with high exposure to hazards. The IPCC estimates that at least 175 million children will be affected by disasters annually by 2015. WHO estimates that more than 85% of the global disease burden due to climate change occurs in children under 5. According to The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) report Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation forecasts that by 2050 rice prices will increase between 32 and 37% as a result of climate change. The report shows that yield losses in rice could be between 10 and 15%. Declining maize and wheat production since the 1980s due to climate change are believed to contribute to a projected additional 25 million malnourished children globally by 2050. Climate change also poses increasing risks to education as climate-related shocks result in more girls being taken out of school than boys, boys dropping out of schools for securing paid work and for other reasons thus undermining efforts toward universal education.

“Our house is located near the canal. Every year our house floods during the rainy season. Because of this I failed to go to school for a week. I was also not able to do the homework for English which was hard for me while staying at home. When I attended school after a week, my teacher did not care about my situation. Instead I was beaten mercilessly. I suffered from fever immediately after the incident. My parents tried very hard to send me back to school but I did not go back to school since the teacher had beaten me for no fault of mine.”, Said, a 13-year-old boy from Khulna, Bangladesh who dropped out of school at 11 and now works long hours in a restaurant.

Climate change presents particularly strong challenges to children in the Global South, who are already at a disadvantage due to poverty, migration, rapid urbanization, inequitable and poor access to infrastructure, education, health and other protective services. More than 700 million children below the age of 15 (often comprising as much as 40% of the population or more) live in the 20 countries deemed at “extreme risk” from climate change (mainly in the belt around and immediately north of the equator). These represent some of the fastest urbanizing countries in the world. Included in this group are many Asian countries with some of the largest and most populated cities in the world, located on the floodplains of major rivers and typhoon prone coastal areas which make them susceptible to significant impacts of climate change both now and into the future. A large proportion of the population in Asian countries and indeed in Asian cities are infants, children and adolescents who arguably represent one of the most vulnerable categories subjected to a spectrum of risks from climate change in cities. Yet few urban adaptation and resilience building programmes in Asia focus on children. 

Knowledge Gap

While understanding of the impacts of climate change is advancing rapidly across the globe, most studies focus on the vulnerabilities and experiences of adults. Few studies that did focus on children did so to understand vulnerabilities at the country level. The challenges facing children in urban areas differ significantly to those faced by rural children (though there are many overlaps) and undoubtedly children living in urban poverty are more vulnerable to climate related shocks and stresses due to the inherent vulnerabilities of their living environments.

Research on child-centred adaptation in urban communities is virtually non-existent. Given the dearth of research on these issues, it is unclear whether urban programs run by Save the Children and other child-focused organisations are systematically building children’s resilience to the specific challenges climate change will bring to their lives. Specific research into the kinds of additional challenges climatic change will bring to the lives of poor children in urban communities is urgently required to enable child-focused organisations to integrate building climate change resilience into sector-based activities in their urban programming.

Research Objectives

In order to address these research gaps and provide a framework of child-centred adaptation measures to Country Offices, Save the Children, with funding support from the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) (via the Rockefeller Foundation-supported Asian Cities Climate Change Resilience Network), commissioned a multi-city study to understand the risks climate change poses to the development of urban children in three Asian countries Bangladesh, the Philippines, and Vietnam. The cities chosen for this study are secondary cities with less than 1 million inhabitants (complementing the Asian megacities study by PLAN-IIED) and include Khulna in Bangladesh, Da Nang in Vietnam and Manolos in the Philippines.   

Sharing Workshop

Save the Children International (SCI) is organizing an international workshop on September 23, 2014 in Hanoi, Vietnam, to present the research result of SC in Climate Change Risk and Resilience in Urban Children in Vietnam, Bangladesh & Philippines. An important goal of the workshop is to receive feedback from other organizations and discuss the implications of children’s vulnerability and adaptation activities to climate change in urban environments

Sữa mẹ – món quà vô giá cho cuộc sống


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