COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM


CONSTRUCTION OF LONG HƯNG 1 BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 5)
Long Hưng 1 Hamlet, Hòa Minh Commune, Châu Thành District, Trà Vinh Province

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete bridge, 25.0 m long and 2.2 m wide
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn (AHCC-Saigon) and local volunteers

10/30/2016:  Groundbreaking ceremony
12/11/2016:  Start of Construction
01/21/2017:  Inauguration ceremony

In collaboration with AHCC-Saigon, who provides logistic and technical support, and local volunteers, VESAF funded the construction of LONG HƯNG 1 Bridge in the Hamlet of Long Hưng 1 of Hòa Minh Commune, Trà Vinh Province.  This steel-reinforced concrete bridge, 25.0 m long and 2.2 m wide, replacing a rotten wooden structure over a creek, was opened for public use on January 21, 2017.  Over 80 families in the village, including many school children, would benefit from this new construction in their daily activities.

View the construction of this bridge on YouTube


CONSTRUCTION OF 3 NEW BRIDGES:  MỸ TÂN 1, MỸ TÂN 2, AND MỸ TÂN 3
(VESAF Bridges No. 6, 7, and 8)
Mỹ Tân Commune, Cái Bè District, Tiền Giang Province

Specifications:   Steel-reinforced concrete bridges
                            My Tan 1:  over Canal #500, length = 24 m, width = 2.2 m
                            My Tan 2:  over Canal #1000, length = 36 m, width = 2.2 m
                            My Tan 3:  over Tu Bang Canal, length = 36 m, width = 2.2 m
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  AHCC-Saigon, PGHH-Tien Giang, and local volunteers

In collaboration with AHCC-Saigon (Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn -- Fellow Retired Civil Engineers in Saigon), PGHH-Tien Giang (Đội Xây Dựng Cầu Từ Thiện Phật Giáo Hòa Hảo Tiền Giang -- Hoa Hao Buddhist Bridge Construction Group in Tien Giang), and local volunteers, VESAF provided funds for the construction of 3 reinforced concrete bridges for the underserved people in Hamlet 2, My Tan Commune, Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province.  The new bridges will replace 3 wooden, dilapidated bridges that posed an extreme hazard, especially during the rainy season.  

My Tan is an impoverished agricultural community, which has approximately 1,200 families, with a population of about 5,300. The people here face significant challenges in their daily lives since the local infrastructure is poorly developed, particularly the roads and transportation system.  Hamlet 2 of My Tan is isolated from the rest of the Commune, as there is only a single road that connects it to the Commune center.  The local people must travel across these 3 bridges on this road in order to access the main area of the town and beyond.  The new reinforced concrete bridges will help provide a more stable, safe, and direct path to the rest of My Tan and neighboring Thien Trung Commune, as well as a connection to district road 77 and then National Highway 1A.  This would be especially important for the many children who cross them daily to access their schools.

A combined  groundbreaking ceremony was organized for the 3 bridges on April 27, 2017.  However, they will be constructed sequentially in order to minimize the costs associated with scaffolding.  
 

MỸ TÂN 1 BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 6)

04/27/2017:  Groundbreaking ceremony
05/21/2017:  Start of construction
07/25/2017:  Construction completed
10/01/2017:  Inauguration ceremony


MỸ TÂN 2 BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 7)

04/27/2017:  Groundbreaking ceremony
05/21/2017:  Start of construction
08/10/2017:  Construction completed
10/01/2017:  Inauguration ceremony


MỸ TÂN 3 BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 8)

04/27/2017:  Groundbreaking ceremony
05/21/2017:  Start of construction
09/05/2017:  Construction completed
10/01/2017:  Inauguration ceremony


CONSTRUCTION OF HÒA MỸ BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 9)
Hòa Mỹ Commune, Phụng Nghiệp District, Hậu Giang Province

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete, 26-m long, 2.2-m wide
Cost of building materials and operating:  96,000,000 VND
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Fellow Civil Engineers in Saigon (AHCC Saigon), and local government and volunteers

10/21/2017:  Groundbreaking ceremony
11/28/2017:  Start of construction
01/16/2018:  Inauguration


CONSTRUCTION OF MỸ ĐỨC ĐÔNG BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 10)
Mỹ Đức Đông Commune, Cái Bè District, Tiền Giang Province

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete, 36.5-m long, 2.2-m wide
Cost of building materials and operating:  131,000,000 VND
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Fellow Civil Engineers Group in Saigon (AHCC Saigon), Hoa-Hao Buddhist Bridge Construction Group in Tien Giang (PGHH TG), and local government and volunteers.

11/07/2017:  Groundbreaking ceremony
11/07/2017:  Start of construction
01/19/2018:  Inauguration
 


SOLAR LIGHTING PROJECT

In many of the impoverished and underserved rural areas of Vietnam, people live in conditions without electrical power.  At night, some villagers use candles and kerosene lamps for lighting, but many live in the dark.  Children are unable to do homework or read books in the evening, and bridges built by VESAF in these communities cannot be safely used at night. 

On 03/23/2017, as a pilot project supported by Hao and Tina Lam, VESAF, with the logistic and technical contribution from AHCC- Saigon, installed three solar-powered garden lights at Bung Ap 1 Bridge (built in 2015, in Hoa Thanh Commune, Tam Binh District, Vinh Long Province), the first bridge built with VESAF's sponsorship.  Each light unit ("Garden Light 4", manufactured by VU PHONG Co.) consists of a lightweight solar panel, a battery pack, and four LED lights.  The battery stores the energy collected by the solar panel (positioned at the top of the light unit) during the day and generates electricity to power the four LED lights from dusk to dawn.  The successful installation of these lights would improve the safety of bridge crossing at night for many years to come.


MICROFINANCE PROGRAM

 Economists and other social scientists know how hard the climb out of poverty is for poor rural people in developing countries.  The many obstacles include the need to support a family while starting or expanding a business, acquiring needed business knowledge, access to markets for one's goods and/or services, the support of other community members, and above all, finding the financial capital to invest in the needed tools and supplies.  Microfinance programs, which supply needy entrepreneurs with small ($200-400) loans after organizing them into local support groups, overcome the last two of these obstacles.  The loans are repaid to the lending organization, which then recycles the funds into new loans to other similar individuals and communities.  Such microfinance programs multiply the benefits of the invested funds to the benefit of the borrowers and their neighbors.

In early April 2016, Taiwan's FORMOSA Ha Tinh steel plant illegally discharged toxic waste water containing cyanide and carbolic acids into the sea bordering several provinces in central Vietnam, heavily damaging the local environment and fishing industry.  The environmental and human costs of such an incident are very high.  It will take many years or even decades to restore the health of the environment in the affected provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien Hue.

VESAF has partnered with HEARTS FOR HUE (H4H), a nongovernmental organization based in Hue, to initiate a Microfinance Project aimed at creating new jobs and generating income for families affected by the FORMOSA incident in Thua Thien Hue Province.  This strategic partnership is expected to help promote sustainable changes that will uplift underprivileged people in this region from poverty and stimulate the economic growth in their community.

Loans are provided for a duration of 24 months, with monthly repayments.

VINH PHU PROJECT
(Hamlet 16, Vinh Phu Commune, Phu Vang District, Thừa Thiên Huế Province)

In the first round of the loan program, VESAF provided HEARTS FOR HUE (H4H) with funds to help 26 families in Hamlet 16 of Vinh Phu commune that have been seriously affected by this incident.  H4H helped to identify individuals and families in this community who were suitable for the loans, i.e., willing to start new occupations as small business owners.  In addition, H4H conducted business and vocational training for loan recipients to enhance their knowledge of credit and savings management, ensuring the long-term viability of the enterprise, and administered the loan distribution.  

12/25/2016:  H4H organized the first training for 26 potential loan recipients in Vinh Phu Commune.
01/05/2017:  H4H carried out a training on capacity building for the Community Project Board (5 members).
01/12/2017:  H4H distributed loans (7,000,000 VNĐ each) to the 26 families participating in the program. 


View Progress Reports and Case Stories

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRFTftBE9tA&feature=youtu.be 
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Bdy_k_Md8Y          



QUANG PHUOC PROJECT
(Lam Ly and Mai Duong Hamlets, Quang Phuoc Commune, Quang Dien District, Thừa Thiên Huế Province)

VESAF provided additional funds to H4H to carry out another microfinance program in Quang Phuoc Commune, which has also been strongly affected by the FORMOSA incident.  In the first round, 26 individuals and families were identified and supported, based on H4H's client criteria.  H4H provided loan recipients with a basic training about obligations and credit and savings management, to ensure the long-term viability of the program.

02/21/2017:  H4H organized the first training for 26 potential loan recipients in Quang Phuoc Commune.
02/21/2017:  H4H carried out a training on capacity building for the Community Project Board (7 members).
03/17/2017:  Loans (7,000,000 VNĐ each) were disbursed to the 26 participating families, embarking on a wide range of business activities.

 

SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

During school year 2016-2017, VESAF provided merit-based scholarships to underprivileged students at

    -  LÊ ĐÌNH DƯƠNG MIDDLE SCHOOL (Trường Trung Học Cơ Sỡ Lê Đình Dương, Điện Trung Commune, Điện Bàn District, Quảng Nam Province): 
       11 scholarships.  A number of awards were also given to deserving students at Lê Đình Dương Middle School.

    -  VĂN LƯƠNG MIDDLE SCHOOL (Trường Trung Học Cơ Sỡ Văn Lương, Village of Long Điền, Long Điền District, Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province):
       10 scholarships.  


HUMANITARIAN AID


MÁI ẤM TÌNH THƯƠNG CENTER AT QUANG CHÂU TEMPLE
(Hòa Châu Commune, Hòa Vang District , City of Đà Nẳng)

VESAF continues to provide funds for food and clothing for the orphans at MÁI ẤM TÌNH THƯƠNG CENTER.  This Center, operated by Quang Châu Temple, is home to more than 100 orphans, ranging in age from newborn infants to teenagers, and is also helping old, poor, and dependent individuals without families with lodging, meals, clothing, and medical care. 


NGÔI NHÀ TÌNH THƯƠNG (SMILE HOUSE)
(126 Trần Hưng Đạo, Hội An)

Smile House was founded in 2010 by a group of benefactors in the City of Hoi An, Quang Nam province.  Its purpose is to support the handicapped people who come from families in financial hardship.  The House provides them with financial and medical assistance, career training, as well as a social meeting place.  They are trained to make artifacts, lampshades, lanterns, incense, etc., for sale to the public, especially tourists.  Unfortunately, the proceeds are hardly enough to support nearly 130 members of the House, and additional aid from local and foreign charitable organizations would therefore be needed to cover some operating cost.  In 2017, VESAF began to provide the House with financial aid to purchase food, clothing, and medical services. 


EMERGENCY RELIEF

In Novemeber 2017, many low-lying communities in Thua Thien Hue Province were devastated by severe flood as a result of the strong typhoon #12.

In partnership with Hearts for Hue, VESAF supported emergency relief for people affected by the flood in this region.  Hearts for Hue worked with People’s Committees and local Red Cross of Quang An Commune and Phong Dien District to identify households that were in need of support. on November 13th, the staff of Hearts for Hue and volunteers distributed food packages (milk, instant noodles, and cooking oil) to 200 families in these communities. 
 
                                                View Video of Emergency  Relief for People Affected by the November-2017 Flood