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Vietnam Project Visit
12 May 2022

Between May 9th – 13th Care for Children’s Founder and Executive Director, Mr Robert Glover, together with Care for Children’s Head of Strategy, Information and Development, Mr Thomas Abbott, travelled to Hanoi Vietnam, for the first project site visit since the start of the COVID pandemic.

On May 10th, Robert and Thomas, together with the Vietnam project team, met with Care for Children’s project partner, the Department of Children’s Affairs (DCA). Deputy Director, Dr Hoa, and her colleagues, warmly welcomed the Care for Children team into the DCA office. It was a very positive opportunity to re-connect friendships that go back as far as 2014, and rebuild momentum for the project work post-COVID.

The meeting was also a good opportunity to discuss the agenda for the upcoming meeting with the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA).

On May 12th Robert and Thomas, together with the Vietnam project team, met with the Deputy Minister of MOLISA, Madame Nguyen Thi Ha. The meeting was also attended by the Director of the Department of Children’s Affairs, Mr Nam, and other senior government officials including from the Department of International Cooperation. This was another positive and fruitful meeting, building on a foundation of friendship and shared goals.

Deputy Minister Ha reiterated the Vietnamese government’s strategy for their child welfare to use institutional care as a last resort, and to develop family-based care as a priority. She thanked Care for Children for our support and commented on the successful achievements of the project’s goals to date, and encouraged closer cooperation moving forward.

The hour-long meeting was followed by a lunch hosted by Deputy Minster Ha.

An official news item of the meeting in English from MoLISA’s own website can be found here: Ministry of Labour - Invalids and Social Affairs (molisa.gov.vn)

On May 13th, The Metropole Hotel Hanoi supported Care for Children by hosting a private screening of the ‘Children of Shanghai’ documentary, to which Madame Hoa and her DCA colleagues attended. She and all the guests were greatly moved by the children’s stories that were shared in the documentary, providing further inspiration and encouragement for this early stage of the Vietnam project.

Reflection

“Reflecting on our visit, I was struck by how warmly we were welcomed back to Vietnam. The two years of COVID had been tough on the country, and Social Protection Centres (orphanages) had opened up again for visitors only 2 months prior to our visit. The government was keen to give a clear message of cooperation, even volunteering to participate in an independent report we are currently undertaking as we near the end of the pilot project stage. It was exciting to see how keen the government is to learn, together with us, on how best to further progress family placement developments for orphans and vulnerable children in Vietnam. It’s clear that they #believeinfamily!”

- Thomas Abbott , Head of Strategy, Information & Development

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