Businesses to Support Children in the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 has left serious effects on children. They need urgent help to overcome the pandemic impacts, especially children orphaned due to the pandemic.

Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) in collaboration with the Child Rights Governance Network (CRG), the Child Rights Working Group (CRWG), and the Southern NPO Network (SNPO) organized a seminar "Supporting children during the Covid-19 pandemic - For the best interest of a child", sponsored by Save the Children on October 28, 2021. This event is part of the seminar series "Creating Trends - Leading Change 2021: Responsible Business in the Covid-19 Pandemic".

Management and Sustainable Development Institute collaborates with partner organizations to conduct the series of seminars "Creating Trends - Leading Change 2021: Responsible Business in the Covid-19 Pandemic" with the aims to create a space to share knowledge and experience and to promote sustainable development programs and corporate social responsibility, to support children and young people in the Covid-19 pandemic Businesses, civil society organizations and state management agencies, universities and the media are expected to participate in the seminars to create positive changes.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit all corners of the world, made devastating effects on the economy, education, and health. Especially, children- a vulnerable group, are now heavily affected by the pandemic. They are restricted in school, recreational activities, and affected by economic damage, even suffered from psychological trauma when losing loved ones.

Vu Thi Kim Hoa - Deputy Head of the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) shared: “We appreciate the seminars on corporate responsibility in supporting children in the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a useful, meaningful, and timely initiative in the context of Vietnam and the world is making great efforts in disease prevention. As an organization working for the best interest of the child, we would like to thank the cooperation and support of organizations, businesses, and the whole society. The participation of stakeholders is important in demonstrating long-term support for the children”.

Vu Thi Kim Hoa - Deputy Head of the Department of Child Affairs under the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs delivered the opening speech.

Nguyen Phuong Linh - Director of MSD said: "The Covid-19 has left serious effects on children these days. They need urgent help to overcome the pandemic impacts, especially children orphaned due to the pandemic. It requires long-term support in social security, learning, recreation, physical and mental health. Therefore, stakeholders' support becomes even more important during the pandemic."

"We received timely support from the government and the stakeholders, especially businesses. This seminar is to share lessons learned and challenges in supporting children from all stakeholders with a desire - for the best interest of a child", shared Nguyen Phuong Linh.

Linh also shared the Children's Rights and Business Principles which businesses and organizations can apply in protecting children's rights, emphasizing Principle 9 on supporting children affected by emergencies.

Le Ngoc Bao from CRWG gave a recommendation: "The support of businesses and donors to orphans should be well coordinated to be able to ensure children to be in a good family environment. These supports must comply with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Law on the Child 2016, and other related legal documents. In addition, the support and companionship of businesses and sponsors in improving the quality of the childcare and protection service or the capacity-building programs for childcare staff, social workers in the localities are necessary. We are committed to coordinate and share resources in policy advocacy, support capacity building for localities in terms of human resources, techniques, lessons learned from project models, and training for trainer programs to improve the quality of childcare and child protection in Vietnam”.

The workshop was followed by the talk "Join hands for children - For the best interest of the child and family". The speakers included Vu Thi Kim Hoa, Deputy Head of the Department of Child Affairs, MOLISA and Le Ngoc Bao, Co-Chair of CRWG. Online attendees included To Thuy Diem Quyen, Education Specialist, Founder, and CEO of InnEdu; Pham Truong Son, Vice Chairman of SNPO; Mr. Hoang Duc Minh, Donation Manager, MoMo E-wallet. The seminar was coordinated by Nguyen Phuong Linh, Director of MSD.

Speakers at the seminar.

Pham Truong Son shared about the current situation and activities to support children of the SNPO: “By surveying and observing the children, we have identified two main tasks: One is emergency response during the pandemic, the other is post-pandemic recovery. The second task is more important because this will affect children's future. Civil society organizations have carried out this task in various ways such as: providing spiritual, psychological and material assistance for orphans, supporting orphans' family livelihoods. We prioritize helping children to live with their families to receive the best care when the families have a source of income, they will be able to protect the children”.

As an educator and an entrepreneur who is active in child support activities, To Thuy Diem Quyen said: “We want to be able to make every effort to turn the trauma into motivation. Fortunately, we are not alone on this journey. We have five community projects to address children's needs, to ensure a good life for them. We can't turn children into commodities to ask for money, this can't be a long-term solution. The principle of success is sharing, so I propose the Department of Child Affairs to establish a network of civil society organizations to support children and build a legal framework to protect them".

Hoang Duc Minh said about fundraising: "Donors or the community should sponsor and contribute to professional organizations or platforms which have legal status.

Vu Thi Kim Hoa responded to the comments of the speakers and the audience: “We have collected a lot of information from individuals and supporting businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic and noted with thanks. State management agencies want to listen to the opinions of stakeholders to come up with policies and measures to support children immediately, and businesses also need to launch programs to support children as soon as possible. One of the important tasks of the Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs is to provide long-term support for children and their families so that children can be protected and live with their families, for the best interest of the child.