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Friday, October 22, 2021

NGOs in Vietnam collaborate to support children orphaned by Covid-19

The Saigon Times

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HCMC – Local and international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working across Vietnam today, September 24, officially launched a campaign to support children orphaned due to Covid-19.

This campaign, titled “You are not alone”, calls for mobilizing social resources to provide urgent and long-term support to children who have lost a parent, both parents, or primary caregivers because of the pandemic.

The campaign is a collaboration between three organizations: Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren), the Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD), and the Capacity Building and Support Center for Women and Children (CSWC).

According to estimates from the HCMC Department of Education and Training, in HCMC alone, more than 1,500 children at all levels of education have been orphaned by the Covid-19 pandemic in the past few months. This number is much higher when all the children not included in the education system and in other provinces and cities of the country are taken into account. 

In combination with governmental support, the participation of NGOs specializing in supporting children is essential to the transparent and efficient concentration and allocation of resources. 

Children losing a parent are at risk of serious psychological trauma, which, without proper support, can have serious long-term impacts on their mental well-being and curtail their chances of success later on in life. 

In particular, children with families already in difficult financial circumstances, who have now lost the main provider of the family, will require material support along with long-term commitment toward their education and emotional support. 

“Children orphaned due to Covid-19 need immediate support in terms of psychological stability, food and safe accommodation. Long-term support includes education and modeled care, tailored to each child’s circumstances,” shared Nguyen Ngoc Phuc, director of CSWC.

The “You are not alone” campaign aims to support disadvantaged children orphaned due to Covid-19 within the networks of participating organizations, as well as extending support toward the wider community through an open application system where any orphaned child outside the existing networks can seek help: https://emkhongleloi.com.

“You are not alone” will focus not only on providing financial support to the children, but also mental support and guidance. 

Combining the diverse experiences and expertise in social work, the participating organizations will be able to help children cope with the trauma of bereavement, provide responsible counselling on issues surrounding life and education, encourage and assist children in their personal development and create a safety net to support these children in the absence of their parents.

In essence, the collaboration between participating organizations will help these children overcome the psychological shock and trauma of losing a parent and prevent this tragedy from affecting the child’s potential. 

According to Damien Roberts, executive director of saigonchildren, the emotional trauma for orphaned children is very high. Therefore, the best way to support orphaned children is to keep them within the extended family and give them counselling, guidance and long-term support for their physical, psychological, social and emotional needs.

“It is important to fund these children’s education and give them food, but it is vital to support their emotional and psychological well-being in order to overcome their trauma and be resilient enough to fulfill their potential,” he added.

Nguyen Phuong Linh, executive director of MSD, said, “We hope this will be a useful effort to help Covid-19 orphans and make them feel they are not alone. What we want is for them to know that they have the support of the community and society to overcome the adversity and live up to their potential.”

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