Impoverished children in Vietnam need your help to overcome the effects of poverty, ill health, lack of schooling, unmet medical needs, and unsafe drinking water. Vietnam, a country of 86 million, is desperately poor. The per capita income in 2008 was $1,024, and 21 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line (US $1.25 per day). Children under age 5 have a mortality rate of 19 per 1000 live births (compared with 7.6 for the USA). Thousands of children live in orphanages. A number of charitable and relief organizations are at work in Vietnam, but still much remains to be done to alleviate suffering.
Areas needing attention are nutrition, basic health, fresh (safe) water, aid to handicapped, school tuition for children, and support of poor families. Problems associated with unsafe water are particularly serious. Fresh water in rivers and streams in Vietnam is often a source of cholera, dysentery, typhoid fever, and amoebiasis. Tragically, unsafe water is also beginning to cause cases of poliomyelitis, eliminated long ago in the United States. Safe fresh-water wells can be placed in operation for as little as $700 each.
Poor children in Vietnam also need charitable assistance if they expect to go to school, since families must pay tuition for them to attend. Charities at work in Vietnam believe that the children of today, particularly those who are orphans or who have been abandoned, need extra help to grow and to become productive members in Vietnamese society. Most charities devote 90 percent or more of contributions toward programs to directly aid children. Contributors to charities that benefit Vietnamese children often include American veterans of the Vietnam conflict and naturalized Vietnamese-Americans. Others include religious groups and individuals who wish to do something positive to alleviate the plight of orphans.