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Friday, June 14, 2024

Vinasoy and a two-decade journey to improve nutrition for school children

The Saigon Times

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More than 20 years has passed since joining the School Milk Program, Vietnam Soya Products Joint Stock Company (Vinasoy) has remained committed to providing school children throughout Vietnam with free soymilk products to improve their health, as one of the ways the leading soymilk producer has done to fulfil its corporate social responsibility.

Bringing nutritional meals to school children in rural, remote areas

Founded in 1997, Vinasoy, currently the largest soymilk producer in the country with a market share of over 85% and annual output of 390 million liters per year, has ever since developed business around the soybean, ceaselessly discovering, creating, and optimizing this source of nutrition given by nature.

Knowing nutritional values of soybeans and nutrition needs of children, the Vietnamese soymilk producer has managed to pass through hills and cross streams to offer soymilk to 530,000 primary school students in remote areas for eight consecutive years under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “School Meal Program in Vietnam” being launched in the 2000s.

In previous years, many children in remote and rural areas across the country were not getting enough nutrients in their daily meals. They could not afford milk or were unable to fully digest lactose in cow milk for a very long time. Some 10 years ago, the percentage of Vietnamese children with malnutrition reached 24.3%, meaning that one in four kids was malnourished.

Soymilk is a healthy, plant-based product having the percentage of protein equivalent to that of milk from animals, in addition to a variety of nutrients such as calcium, vitamin K and more than 20 other vitamins that are essential for daily growth of children.

Between 2001 and 2008, Vinasoy provided 56 million safe and healthy meals for more than 530,000 primary school children at 480 schools in mountainous, remote districts of nine provinces in northern and central Vietnam, including Lai Chau, Dien Bien, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, and Binh Dinh.

“For poor, malnourished primary school children, they were given daily school meals with each comprising 200ml of soymilk and 30 grams of cookies,” a Vinasoy representative said about the School Milk Program in its first years of implementation. The meals provided the kids with an important source of nutrition, making each school day a happy time.

During the 2013-2014 period alone, Vinasoy donated 753,739 bags of Fami soymilk, valued at VND2.23 billion, to 4,588 primary school children. As a result, these kids gained weight by around 1.7 kilograms and got some three centimeters taller each on average.

First Vietnam Soymilk Study Motivation Foundation launched

In continuing its great care for school children, Vinasoy has managed to do more for the future generations of the country. In December 2015, Quang Ngai Sugar Joint Stock Company, Vinasoy’s parent company, established the Vietnam Soymilk Study Motivation Foundation as a non-profit organization to mobilize more resources to improve student motivation, promote educational development, and enhance the health of school children.

From 2016 until now, Vinasoy and the Vietnam Soymilk Study Motivation Foundation have jointly donated almost 12 million cartons of Fami soymilk, worth over VND42.2 billion, to more than 807,000 school children at 1,412 primary schools in 16 northern and central provinces.

Aside from offering free soymilk to school children, the program equipped school kids and their parents with nutrition knowledge and healthy habits to improve their quality of living.

The program has enabled school children to improve their health, contributing to developing the country’s future human resources. This has motivated Vinasoy’s School Milk Program to make further efforts to accomplish its mission which is to bring the source of plant-based nutrition to the community and bolster the growth of generations of healthy and strong people.

To mark the 25th anniversary of its establishment, Vinasoy will launch its School Soymilk Program in which 2.5 million cartons of soymilk will be presented to junior students in six Central Highlands and Mekong Delta provinces in November and December this year. Vinasoy makes this move to show its great care to the students in areas that have been cooperating with Vinasoy to provide input materials for the soymilk firm and help bringing the plant-based nutrition source to share with people across the country.

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