COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM


CONSTRUCTION OF HUU NGHI BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 11)
Mỹ Tân Commune, Cái Bè District, Tiền Giang Province

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete bridge, 22 m long and 3.3 m wide
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Bridge-to-Friendship Club (CLB NCHN) and Hoa-Hao Buddhist Bridge Construction Group in Tien Giang (PGHH-TG)

01/20/2018:  Groundbreaking ceremony
01/22/2018:  Start of Construction
03/24/2018:  Inauguration

In collaboration with Câu Lạc Bộ Nhịp Cầu Hữu Nghị (Bridge-to-Friendship Club), 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 a steel-reinforced concrete bridge for the underserved people in My Tan Commune.  This new bridge has replaced a dilapidated structure without railing that posed an extreme hazard, especially during the rainy season.

View Slideshow of Huu Nghi Bridge Construction                                    


CONSTRUCTION OF LIEN HOA ROAD
(VESAF Road No. 3)
Thien Tue Hamlet, An Hao Commune, Tịnh Bien District, An Giang Province

Specifications:  Concrete, length = 300 m , width = 2 m, and thickness = 0.1 m
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  The Bridge-to-Friendship Club (CLB NCHN) and Hoa-Hao Buddhist Bridge Construction Group in Tien Giang (PGHH-TG)

03/21/2018:  Groundbreaking
05/05/2018:  Inauguration

In collaboration with Câu Lạc Bộ Nhịp Cầu Hữu Nghị (The Bridge-to-Friendship Club), 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 a concrete road for the underserved  An Hoa Commune.  This new road has replaced a dirt path that local villagers and pilgrims used to visit Bạch Vân Temple in the Cấm Sơn mountains.


CONSTRUCTION OF VINH LOC A BRIDGE
(VESAF Bridge No. 12)
(Vinh Loc A Commune, Hong Dan District, Bac Lieu Province)

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete bridge, length = 20 m, width = 2.2 m
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn (AHCC-Saigon, Fellow Civil Engineers Group in Saigon) and local volunteers

07/05/2018:  Groundbreaking


CONSTRUCTION OF VINH LOC A ROAD

(VESAF ROAD No. 4)
(Vinh Loc A Commune, Hong Dan District, Bac Lieu Province)

Specifications:  concrete;  length: 1,300 m,  width: 0.8 m, thickness: 8 cm
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn (AHCC-Saigon, Fellow Civil Engineers Group in Saigon) and local volunteers

This new road replaced the old muddy dirt road, connecting Vinh Loc A Bridge and the main street leading to grade and middle schools.

10/07/2018:  Groundbreaking


CONSTRUCTION OF HAI CHUA BRIDGE
(Vinh Thang Commune, Go Quao District, Kien Giang Province)
VESAF Bridge No. 13

Specifications:  Steel-reinforced concrete;  length = 18 m,  width = 2.2 m
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support:  Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn (AHCC-Saigon, Fellow Civil Engineers Group in Saigon) and local volunteers

This new bridge will replace an old, dilapidated bridge that poses an extreme hazard during the rainy season.

07/05/2018: Groundbreaking


CONSTRUCTION OF VINH THANH BRIDGE

Vinh Thanh Hamlet, Vinh Thang Commune, Go Quao District, Kien Giang Province)
VESAF Bridge No. 14

Specifications:  steel-reinforced concrete;  length = 25 m,  width = 2.2 m
Financial support:  VESAF and Ông Bà Đặng Trần Cung
Logistic and technical support:  Nhóm Ái Hữu Công Chánh Sàigòn (AHCC-Saigon, Fellow Civil Engineers Group in Saigon) and local volunteers

This new bridge will facilitate safe river crossing for people in the Hamlet, including many school children. At present, there is no bridge at this location; the locals cross the river by standing on a wood raft at a river bank and pulling the raft to the opposite bank.

10/07/2018: Groundbreaking


CONSTRUCTION OF HUU NGHI 2 BRIDGE
Hamlet 4, Hoa An Commune, Phung Hiep District, Hau Giang Province)
VESAF Bridge No. 15

Specifications:  steel-reinforced concrete;  length = 34 m,  width = 2.8 m
Financial support:  VESAF (70%) and Hoa An Commune (30%)
Logistic and technical support: Câu Lạc Bộ Nhịp Cầu Hữu Nghị (Bridge-to-Friendship Club) and local volunteers

The new bridge replaces a degrading bridge that posed an extreme hazard for school children, especially during the rainy season.

10/27/2018: Groundbreaking


BUILDING NEW HOMES FOR PEOPLE IN NEED

MÁI ẤM TÌNH THƯƠNG 1
(Lai Hieu Ward, Nga Bay Commune, Hau Giang Province)

Specifications:  Prefabricated structure, concrete floor, length = 10 m,  width = 4 m
Financial support:  VESAF
Logistic and technical support: Câu Lạc Bộ Nhịp Cầu Hữu Nghị (Bridge-to-Friendship Club) and local volunteers
Recipient: Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Cẩm Tiên and family

10/27/2018: Groundbreaking


MÁI ẤM TÌNH THƯƠNG 2
(Tan Bương A Hamlet, Tan Phong Commune, Cai Lay District, Tien Giang Province)

Specifications:  Prefabricated structure, concrete floor, length = 10 m,  width = 4 m
Financial support:  VESAF, Local Women Union, and Bridge-to-Friendship Club
Logistic and technical support: Câu Lạc Bộ Nhịp Cầu Hữu Nghị (Bridge-to-Friendship Club) and Ban Trị Sự Phật Giáo Hòa Hảo xã Tân Phong (Hoa Hao Buddhist Association in Tan Phong)
Recipient: Mrs. Nguyễn Thị Phúc

10/28/2018: Groundbreaking


SOLAR LIGHTING PROJECT

VESAF continued to partner with AHCC- Saigon and VU PHONG Company, Ltd. (Binh Duong, Vietnam) to provide solar-powered light to communities in need in the Mekong Delta.

With the success of the 2017 pilot project, VESAF added solar-powered garden lights at two other bridges, Ông Kiệt Bridge (VESAF Bridge #4, in Khanh Binh Commune, Tran Van Thoi District, Ca Mau Province) and Mỹ Tân 1 Bridge (VESAF Bridge #6, in My Tan Commune, Cai Be District, Tien Giang Province) on 03/16/2018 and  03/18/2018, respectively, to improve the ease and safety of crossing these bridges at night.

On 03/16-17/2018 and 03/20/2018, with the logistic and technical contribution from AHCC-Saigon and VU PHONG Co, VESAF provided solar-powered light sets to 65 and 4 families that have no electricity in Ca Mau and Ben Tre Province, respectively. The light sets ("Solar Light 12S", designed and distributed by VU PHONG Co.) consist of a lightweight solar panel, a battery, four LED bulbs, as well as pigtail outlets for charging cellular phones and small electronic devices.  The solar panel, positioned on the roof of each home, charges the battery during the day, which, in turn, powers the four LED lights at night.

On 08/24/2018, with the logistic and technical assistance from AHCC-Saigon and VU PHONG Co, VESAF expanded the solar lighting project to Ben Tre, distributing light sets to 26 families in need in An Qui, An Dien, and An Thuan Communes in Tran Thanh District of the Province.


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.

 Since 2017, in an extensive and expanding microfinance program, VESAF has partnered with Hearts For Hue (H4H), a Vietnamese nongovernmental organization based in Hue, to provide microloans to poor families affected by disasters in the region. These loans have gone to a total of 190 families in various hamlets and townships in Thua Thien Hue Province.  Forty seven of these were made with repayment funds from previous recipients. And as more loans are repaid and additional families participate, we can expect this to lead to a continued expansion of the program and its benefits. The funds have been used in a variety of productive ways:  to expand supplies offered in rural retail stores and service establishments such as beauty parlors; and to buy and plant pomelo trees. The loan recipients are of course the main, but not the only beneficiaries of these loans. Other community members also benefit. They don't have to travel to more distant communities to purchase the fruits and services made available by the loans to their neighbors. And they and their children have the role models of entrepreneurship made possible by the loans as well.

VINH PHU PROJECT
(Hamlet 16, Vinh Phu Commune, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien Hue Province)

01/12/2017:  In the first round, H4H distributed loans (7,000,000 VNĐ each) to the 26 families participating in the program
04/12/2017:  3 new loan recipients were added to the program with loan repayment funds
09/12/2017:  6 new loan recipients were added to the program, using loan repayment funds
05/14/2018:  10 new loan recipients were added to the program with loan repayment funds


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

03/17/2017:   In the first round, loans (7,000,000 VNĐ each) were disbursed to the 26 participating families embarking on a wide range of business activities
05/17/2018:  13 new loan recipients were added to the program with loan repayment funds.


HUONG VAN PROJECT
(Hương Vân Commune, Hương Trà Township, Thừa Thiên Huế Province)

In January 2018, VESAF provided additional funds to Hearts For Hue (H4H) to expand the microfinance program to Huong Van Commune, an impoverished community of 6,200 people, about 22 km from Hue City.  The income of local residents is primarily from agricultural activities, such as horticulture and animal husbandry, which is quite unstable and meager.  Particularly, nearly 8.5% of the people in this area are living with disabilities, and a number of households have members who are Agent Orange victims.

According to a recent survey conducted by H4H, most families in Huong Van have been encountering difficulties in paying for the daily food and education for their children, and health care, especially for those families having handicapped members.  They are in need of running additional business, such as sale of consumer goods or agricultural supplies, and cultivation of various crops (especially, Hue pomelo), which will help them to diversify their income.

In the first round, 26 individuals and families were identified and supported, based on H4H's client-selection criteria.  H4H provided loan recipients with basic training about obligations, and credit and saving management, to ensure the long-term viability of the program.

01/16/2018:  H4H carried out a training session on project management for the Community Project Board.
01/22/2018:  H4H provided basic training for 26 potential loan recipients willing to embark on a wide range of business activities.
01/25/2018:  Loans (7,000,000 VNĐ each) were disbursed to the 26 participating families.

05/21/2018:  VESAF provided additional funds to H4H in order to support 50 new participants in the program.

09/20/2018: 15 new loan recipients were added to the program with available loan repayment funds.

View Videos of Progress and Case Stories: Expanding a beauty parlor, Planting pomelo trees, Running a retail store


11/20/2018:  VESAF provided additional funds to support 50 more participants in the expanding program.


SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM

VESAF SCHOLARSHIP AT HUE UNIVERSITY

On August 15, 2018, the first day of the 2018-2019 academic year, Hearts for Hue, in collaboration with Hue University of Agriculture and Forestry, presented VESAF scholarships to 12 students in need. These students, all of whom are from families experiencing severe financial and/or medical hardship, were awarded these scholarships for their strong academic performance. 

The Scholarship Program is sponsored by VESAF, NFP (USA).  In its initial phase, a total amount of 3,600 USD (82,800,000 VND) was distributed in 12 scholarships, each being 300 USD per school year.  The recipients of the scholarship will continue to receive VESAF scholarship support until graduation if they continue to demonstrate a strong academic performance and good conduct in the following school years.

VESAF, NFP is currently working together with Hue University to organize scholarship applications for 20 additional students at the University.  A total value of 6,000 USD is expected to be distributed through 20 scholarships at the end of the first semester of the 2018-2019 academic year.

VESAF continued to provide merit-based scholarships to underprivileged students at LE ĐINH DUONG MIDDLE SCHOOL (Đien Trung Commune, Đien Ban District, Quang Nam Province)