Asia and Pacific Featured Program: Vietnam
Vietnam is a country of contrasts. The scene changes from bustling and chaotic streets of Hanoi in the north to 3,450 kilometers of coastline and tranquil rice paddies and tropical islands in the south. It’s difficult past has not stopped Vietnam from developing into a dynamic modern economy, thanks to the tenacity and determination of the Vietnamese people.
The country has experienced significant economic growth in the past two decades as the country shifted to a market economy. A driving force for the future is Vietnam’s strongly motivated and educated population—the country boasts a 90 percent literacy rate.
The climate in Vietnam is tropical in the south and monsoonal in the north, with a hot, rainy season from May to September and a warmer, dry season from October to March. The landscape ranges between low delta in the south to central highlands and mountains in the far north and northeast.
Vietnamese, English, French, Chinese, Khmer and others.
Even though Vietnam is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, there are presently 4.6 million poor households, according to Vietnam’s government statistics. Recent data show that 7,000 billion dong (about US$433 million) in financial support is needed for 700,000 households.
Habitat developed a strategic plan to meet the pressing housing and development needs. This is being achieved through a combination of approaches that include the provision of housing microfinance services, vocational and technical training and technical support in shelter, water and sanitation projects. Through these services, Habitat is helping to transform communities by improving health and well being, engaging women in decision-making, and involving community and youth groups in promoting positive citizenship.
National program background
Habitat’s work in Vietnam began in October 2002. Habitat has projects in both the southern and northern provinces.
In March 2005, Habitat Vietnam started a pilot project to reduce poverty levels in four districts of the southern province of Kien Giang. This initiative, with the help of the provincial authorities, extended existing microfinance networks so families could save and access credit for home improvements. The approach proved a speedy way to help hundreds of families. It is replicated in another pilot project in another southern province, Tien Giang, where more than 1,000 families are being provided with improved sanitation and housing.
In 2007, Habitat Vietnam began hosting volunteers, both from within Vietnam and overseas. Habitat is also working to attract support from locally-based multinational corporations, local microfinance institutions and government partners already working with the urban and rural poor.
To learn more about Habitat Vietnam, visit www.habitatvietnam.org.
Types of construction for volunteers
Volunteers may work on existing home renovations and complete home construction. Volunteers may help transport materials; fill foundation with dirt, stone, sand; compact floors; mix mortar; lay bricks and clean and paint doors and windows.
Tien Giang.and Thai Binh/Hoa Binh
Hosting structure and services
Volunteers will work on single homes that may or not be part of a larger Habitat community. Habitat Vietnam will facilitate interaction with Habitat home partners only during the build. A part-time HFH Vietnam staff or volunteer will typically accompany the team for at least part of the trip.
Teams typically stay at hotels with air conditioning, television, refrigeration, wireless Internet and laundry service.
Lunch: Eaten on-site, prepared by local restaurants which are near the work site.
Dinner: Local restaurants.
Teams to Tien Giang are bused to the project area from Ho Chi Minh City, about 2 hours away. Teams to Thai Binh/Hoa Binh will fly into Hanoi and bused to the project site, about 2-3 hours away.
All buses used will have 16 or 25 seats and will have air conditioning and meet minimum safety standards. Some builds may include transportation by taxi or canal boat depending on build location, as bus access is not always possible.
Day 1(Typically Saturday): Depart for Vietnam.
Day 2 (Sunday): Arrive in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, depending on project location; free time; dinner.
Day 3 (Monday): Travel to project location; welcome and orientation with local staff member; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
Day 4–7 (Workdays, Tuesday–Friday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner; time for team activities.
Day 8–9 (Saturday–Sunday): Free days; activities in local community.
Day 10–13 (Monday–Thursday): Breakfast served before traveling to work site; work from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. with lunch on-site; free time after work to clean up; dinner at house; time for team activities; farewell lunch with families.
Day 14 (Friday): Travel to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi depending on project location; free time for local activities; dinner.
Day 15 (Saturday): Departure day.
Starting at USD$1,700
View the standard budget.
Volunteer Engagement specialist
If you have read the FAQs and have further questions before you submit a Global Village trip proposal, please contact the Asia and the Pacific volunteer engagement specialist.