Choice Foundation visits Vietnam with The Confederation of Danish Industry (DI)

January 26, 2016

Together with Butler’s Choice and Confederation of Danish Industry (DI), Choice Foundation has visited the poorest parts of Vietnam to hear the stories of the local people and to follow up on our project in relations to health and education. Butler’s Choice is one out of only eight Danish companies elected to participate in the ‘Women Empower Business’ photo exhibition by DI. The main purpose of this tour was therefore to photo-document the women of Vietnam and the work of Butler’s Choice.

It was very moving for Choice Foundation as we visited a local school in the southern Vietnam. The school strongly needs new toilets and drinking water. There is no water, neither for drinking nor for washing hands at the school. Only four and bad smelling toilets for 430 children.  

We also followed a young woman, Kim, and her 7-years old daughter. Kim is very ill due to a kidney disease and is checked at the local health clinic. Kim is not being treated for the disease, as she cannot pay the 210 USD per week for the treatment. And her situation is only getting worse. If she could have afforded to pay 30 USD per year for a health insurance she could now have been treated. Her little daughter is a brave little girl but naturally also very concerned about her mother’s health.

After having heard Kim’s tough story, we are very happy to tell that Choice Foundation will support Kim and her family. We will give Kim’s daughter, Huyen Ly, and her three cousins a scholarship. The scholarship covers the costs of school uniform, books, stationary and a school bag and will be paid every year. The boys will get the scholarship when they start in school. We are looking into the possibility of supporting health insurance to the family – but it requires some more research.

Can you imagine if your kid did not have access to drinking water and proper toilets? Unfortunately, that is what many Vietnamese children are facing when they go to school. Choice Foundation has supported drinking water facilities and new toilets for the 1400 children at this local school in Ca Mau. Thanks a lot to DI for giving Butler’s Choice – We Care to be Fair and Choice Foundation the opportunity to participate in Women Deliver photo exhibition in May in Bella Center.

Choice Foundation and our local partner Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation also visited a kindergarten in a small poor fishing village, not far from Hue. With economic support from Choice Foundation the kindergarten is now extending the building so it can have room for 30 children more. It’s very important that the children can be taken care of so the parents can go fishing and earn a little income for the family. At the same time, the area is badly affected by pollution and increasing water temperature leading to much less fish in the water.

The visit to this small fishing village in the Hue province gave us new insights in how children are being trafficked so as to work in sweatshops in Ho Chi Minh City. We met two girls aged 16 and 17 who have been kept 2 years in a sweatshop working up to 18 hours a day! And they were only about 10 years when they got trafficked. CHOICE FOUNDATION’s local partner Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation have rescued the girls and helped them to get an education. Support for the children’s education and awareness raising in the villages are extremely important to minimize the numbers of children being trafficked.

We spent the last days of our visit to Vietnam together with Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, our local partner since 2012. We visited their office and visitor centre. Many of the young people who are using the centre, are former street kids or kids who have been trafficked. They enjoy growing herbs on the terrace, using the computer room to improve IT-skills or the fitness room to strengthen their bodies after many years of malnutrition and too laborious work at an early age.

It has been a both touching as well as educational trip around in Vietnam. And it has been a pleasure traveling with the team of Confederation of Danish Industry and the amazing photographer Stine Heilmann.

We are looking forward to seeing the visual results at the photo exhibition ‘Women Empower Business’ in May in Copenhagen.