Families served in 2016: 1706
- Population: Over 95.2 million
- Urbanization: 33.6 percent lives in cities
- Life expectancy: 73.4 years
- Unemployment rate: 3.5 percent
- Population living below poverty line: 11.3 percent
Source: World Factbook
Habitat for Humanity in Vietnam
Habitat for Humanity began working in Vietnam in January 2001 with its first project in Danang City in the central coastal region. As of end-June 2016, Habitat has enabled more than 13,600 low-income Vietnamese families to improve their living conditions through decent homes, clean water and safe sanitation. Habitat Vietnam has also provided training in areas such as disaster preparedness, financial education, and hygiene practices to around 75,800 individuals.
Housing needs in Vietnam
Vietnam has lifted more than 35 million people out of poverty since the early 1990s due to rapid economic growth and reforms. However, nearly 11 percent of Vietnam’s 90-million population is still living on less than 400,000 Vietnamese dong (US$18) per month in rural areas. Low-income families living in poorly built housing are trapped in annual cycles of repairs. More than half of rural dwellers lack adequate sanitation while more than one third do not have access to clean water. Every seven in 10 persons also face the risk of typhoons, torrential storms and flooding which hit Vietnam annually.
How Habitat addresses the need in Vietnam
Habitat Vietnam partners with low-income families to build, repair or upgrade their homes with families contributing “sweat equity” or their own labor, and typically repaying the costs through microfinance loans. International volunteers provide a hand-up by building alongside the families. Habitat also enables families to build facilities for clean water and safe sanitation according to their needs. The partner organizations that Habitat works with include the local government and communities. The training that Habitat offers to its partners include appropriate construction technology, financial management, awareness and practice of proper hygiene, community-based disaster risk management.
Community housing development
Habitat for Humanity Vietnam empowers families and communities by working directly with them to increase their access to decent housing and improve their living conditions through water and sanitation training and housing microfinance services, among others. Key program drivers include the improvement of water and sanitation facilities as well as the provision of housing support services by Habitat Vietnam or its implementing partners.
Building disaster-resilient communities
Housing support services is a means by which Habitat Vietnam raises awareness and builds the capacity and resilience of disaster-prone communities. Through training in appropriate construction technology as well as in disaster preparedness, Habitat enables families, provincial governments, community leaders, teachers and masons to protect their lives and assets in times of disasters.
Housing market development
Habitat Vietnam aims to identify opportunities for the entry of market actors to deliver products and services in the affordable housing market. Under the facilitation of Habitat, microfinance institutions and various manufacturers will be able to gain access to new customer segments and markets, and develop affordable housing products and services.
Volunteers contribute significantly to enabling families to build strength, stability and self-reliance through decent housing. They are the hearts, hands, voices and financial support for those in need of affordable shelter. Through Habitat Vietnam’s volunteer program, international and local volunteers have the opportunity to be part of a meaningful, compelling project. Corporations’ CSR initiatives can also be boosted through viable partnerships with Habitat Vietnam.
Meet a Habitat family
Orphaned at a young age, Tap did not have an easy life. Tap, 48, works for a logging company after her divorce from her husband a few years ago. With a daily wage of 150,000 Vietnamese dong (about US$7), she supports her son Truong, 9, and daughter Tuong, 6, as she ekes out a living in Quang Nam province. To supplement her earnings, she rears two cows but it will be some time before she can sell them for meat. Tap and her children used to live in a caretaker house on a former pig farm. They neither had electricity supply nor running water. The children had to light a lantern to do their homework at night. To fetch water, they had to make several trips to their neighbors’ houses. With support from Habitat Vietnam and the local government, Tap built a new two-bedroom house that became her family’s permanent home in 2015. “My life has been so hard. It isn’t easy now but it is much better with the new house. I still have to work very hard but it’s for the future of my kids, not over a house. I’m so thankful,” said Tap.