Cao Bang is a province of northeastern in Vietnam. According to the General Statistics Office of the Government of Vietnam, the population of Cao Bang province as of 2012 was 515,200 with a density of 79 persons per km2. The province of Cao Bang is home to many people from Vietnam’s ethnic minority groups such as the Tay, Nung, Dao, and H’mong.
In Cao Bang, ChildFund has been working in Tra Linh and Quang Uyen district since 2009. In comparison with other districts in Cao Bang, the two mentioned districts are among the most remote and challenging. Tra Linh is located more than 350 kilometres from the capital of Hanoi but it may take you some 8 hours driving to reach a community there. In Tra Linh, residents live in 10 different communities, known as “communes”, most of which are noted in the Vietnam Government’s list of communes with extreme difficulties.
Rice and maize are the primary source of income. However, most families have an insufficient amount of water to irrigate their small plots of land. Families also derive income from animal husbandry, though their lack of knowledge on animal rearing techniques is the cause of low productivity.
Health services are difficult to access and lack sufficient resources, including staff and medical equipment. Facilities are often unhygienic. Treatable illnesses like eye infections, diarrhoea, and gynaecological diseases, are common. The malnutrition rate among children under five is quite high, about 23.1% (2009). Most households use unsafe water collected from wells, streams or underground spring water. Moreover, they do not have latrines or use latrines that are in unhygienic condition. At preschools and primary schools, there are often no water and sanitation facilities.
Streams and dangerous passes make it difficult for children to reach schooI. Classrooms are usually small and in poor condition and lack necessary teaching and studying equipment.
Some of the challenges that children and people in Cao Bang are facing include:
- Lack of understanding about child safety
- Ineffectiveness of child protection system due to lack of human resources and low competency
- Low capacity to carry out public healthcare services to mothers and children under five
- Inadequate access to sanitation facilities and practice
Projects that ChildFund is supporting in the area:
- ChildFund Swipe Safe
- Women Economic Empowerment
- Improving Child Protection Effectiveness
- Taking care of Mother and Child
- Quality Education for Ethnic Minority Children