Promoting significant social returns from small investment in Vietnam

Stories | October 14, 2020

Promoting and supporting livelihoods for people with disabilities is an important part of CBM’s work. Developing livelihoods promotes economic independence. When people can support themselves and their families it improves confidence. This is especially important for people with disabilities who may have been previously excluded from economic and community activities.

One example of a project where CBM was involved in building livelihoods was the Strengthening Eye Care Services and Promoting Inclusive Community project in the Dien Bien district of Vietnam. As a result of their involvement in the project, Mr Chung and his wife, who both live with a disability, were able to improve their economic position with the support of CBM. Mr Chung and his wife had been subsisting on a monthly social protection allowance provided by the government, and supplemented this by making bamboo products like baskets, small chairs and chopsticks. The stigma and misunderstanding around disability within the community meant that Mr Chung and his family felt isolated. Isolation, stigma and low-income also had implications for the prospects of their 18-year-old daughter, who was completing her high school education.

In 2018, CBM partners approached Mr Chung to see if he would like to participate in a project, in which he would receive substantial support from the project in covering the cost of a buffalo. For many families in the northwest region of Vietnam, a buffalo is a valuable asset, but the price of purchasing these animals puts them beyond the reach of many families. The buffalo was very beneficial for the family, since the family could sell the calves each year. The profits from this business model kept the family supported, and paid for their daughter’s college tuition in Dien Bien City. Projects like this are key to breaking the cycle of poverty and disability, by giving people the opportunity to not only improve their economic prospects but also demonstrate their abilities to the wider community.

The Strengthening Eye Care Services and Promoting Inclusive Community project received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

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