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Stories: Children, Community, Future

Local Partner’s Spotlight: Vietnam Association for Protection of Child Rights (VACR)

ChildFund is committed to partnering with local organisations in the communities where we work to achieve long-term and continue improvements in the lives of children and their families. We believe that working with local partners enhances our capacity to realise children’s rights and improves the effectiveness and reach of the programs we support.

In new series, we will introduce you to our incredible local partners, whose work is changing the lives of children throughout Vietnam. This week, we talk to Luong The Khanh – Standing member of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights.

Ι When was your organisation established and why?

The Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights (VACR) was established on 8 April 2008 and has been a member of the Vietnam Fatherland Front since 2020, operating nationwide. Currently, the Association has 23 branches at provincial/city level, 40 branches and affiliated centres in 38 out of 63 provinces/cities with about 70,000 members.

VACR operates with the purpose of gathering and uniting Vietnamese citizens and organisations who are passionate and willing to voluntarily work to let children enjoy basic rights; contribute to promoting the realisation of children’s rights; create conditions for Vietnamese children to live in a safe and healthy environment, develop harmoniously; and participate in child protection and prevention of all acts infringing children’s rights according to the provisions of Vietnamese law and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Vietnam has ratified.

Luong The Khanh – Standing member of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights giving gifts to children in the “An Yen Cho Em” (Peace for children) event in Dien Chau district, Nghe An province in July 2020.

Ι What are your vision and mission?

Our vision: To develop the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights into a professional social organisation for the protection of children’s rights, operate effectively on a national scale; contribute in promoting the realisation of children’s rights, create favourable conditions for Vietnamese children to live in a safe and healthy environment, to develop harmoniously and to participate in the protection and fight against violations of children’s rights.

Our mission: The Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights is a social organisation that gathers and uniting Vietnamese citizens and organisations who are passionate and willing to voluntarily work and strive for the purpose of letting Vietnamese children enjoy basic rights, as well as participate in preventing all acts of violation agaisnt children’s rights.

Ι What are VACR’s activities?

Since its establishment, VACR has focused on researching activities, giving feedback on legal documents and policies of State agencies related to children, at the same time speaking out, expressing opinions on cases of child’s rights violations in the media and at conferences and forums in order to better protect child’s rights, especially children in difficult circumstances. In addition, the Association also strengthens connections, builds a child protection network, and conducts counseling and support activities to protect children, especially children whose rights have been violated.

VACR conducts many activities to promote the realisation of child’s right to participate by organising children’s forums; consulting children on issues, documents, and policies related to them; training children on child’s rights and necessary skills; supporting children to participate in regional forums and dialogues; guiding children to build communication products such as video clips to raise their voice about issues of their interest such as children’s lives during Covid 19, children’s opinions on mental health care, children’s rights online, their right to live in a safe and healthy living environment, etc.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh Hoa – President of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights, Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Lien, Country Director of ChildFund Vietnam and Mr. Im Dong Jun, New General Director and Chairman of the Member Council of Hanwha Life Vietnam presented gifts to children in the program “An Yen Cho Em” (Peace for children) in Nha Be district, Ho Chi Minh City in July 2020.

Capacity building on child rights protection for local VACR branches is one of our regular activities. We organise many community communication activities for parents/carers in residential areas and for children at schools to raise awareness about children’s rights in accordance with the law.

Besides, VACR also encourages the community to give scholarships and gifts to children with special circumstances through programs to help children at risk of dropping out of school to go to school; emergency support for children affected by natural disasters and the pandemic; and give Tet gifts to children with special circumstances.

Ι How long has VACR worked in partnership with ChildFund?

The first cooperation between VACR and ChildFund is for the program “An Yen Cho Em” (Peace for children) in 2020. This is an emergency support activity for children with special circumstances affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in 4 provinces/cities – Hanoi, Hoa Binh, Nghe An and Ho Chi Minh City with 1,200 children benefiting. Although the program was only implemented for 1 month (July 2020), it is really an effort by both VACR and ChildFund to ensure the emergency relief packages can reach the right groups of children and families in difficult circumstances when the country was being heavily affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the program carried out successfully and effectively, VACR and ChildFund Vietnam have been continuing to cooperate to carry out strategic activities of the organisation, focusing on capacity building for the grassroots network of VACR through the project “Strengthening child protection capacity”, implemented from 2022 – 2024 to contribute to enhancing the effectiveness of community-based child protection work.

Ms. Ninh Thi Hong – Standing Vice President of the Vietnam Association for the Protection of Child Rights giving gifts to children in the program “An Yen Cho Em” (Peace for children) in Ba Vi district, Hanoi in July 2020.

Ι What new initiatives does VACR plan for the future?

VACR is developing and finalising an Organisational Development Strategy for the next 10 years (2023 – 2033), which will focus on child protection and provide services on research, capacity building, and counseling and support to protect children’s rights.

In addition, VACR will continue to carry out the tasks specified in Clause 4, Article 92 of the Law on Children and the tasks assigned by the National Assembly and the State in legal documents and national programs for children, effectively serve as a connection between the State and social organisations in order to contribute to the development and improvement of legal policies related to the implementation of children’s rights in Vietnam.

VACR will strengthen activities to support and protect children’s rights, raise awareness and change social behavior in realising children’s rights, at the same time coordinate with other units to provide services on research, communication, training, counseling, and direct support for children who are victims of violence and abuse.

Ι What is the most memorable moment in your journey with VACR?

For me, the most memorable time is during the preparation for the first joint activity between VACR and ChildFund Vietnam – the program “Peace for children” in 2020. VACR has always held annual events to give gifts and scholarships to children but those were all planned from the start. The program “An Yen Cho Em” (Peace for children) is an emergency support program, which means it needs to be implemented immediately while many localities were tightening regulations on mass gatherings to limit the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

We had to have working sessions with local authorities to prepare for the event, however the waiting time for approval was quite long. In the meantime, VACR had persuaded local child protection workers to support and prepare necessary logistics so that the program can be implemented as soon as it is approved. After many days of worrying that the activity cannot be implemented on time as confirmed with the sponsor, fortunately, we received the approval from local authorities two days before the event.

The gifting event for children in Nha Be district, Ho Chi Minh City was attended by more than 200 children. Seeing them receiving the gift bags made me happy as this support is practical for them, but I also felt sad to see some children aged 12-13 who are smaller than their age struggling to carry the heavy gift bags. In the end, the Organising Committee had to mobilise sponsor’s staff to assist the children and their families in transporting the bags.

There were many unexpected situations, but with our readiness to respond, flexibility, enthusiasm, and the support of local officials, the program was successfully carried out, bringing relief packages to the right children at the right time to motivate them to overcome difficulties before the new school year.

Members from the VACR, CRnet and social organisations for children in Vietnam attending the Experience Sharing Workshop on Child Protection organised by VACR with the support of ChildFund Vietnam.

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