Non-governmental Organizations Join Hands to Support Children Orphaned by COVID-19

Three non-governmental organizations in Vietnam have been working together to help ease the pains that children orphaned by the pandemic are suffering

Three non-governmental organizations in Vietnam - the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD), Saigon Children’s Charity (saigonchildren) and Capacity Building and Support Center for Women and Children (CSWC) - have joined hands to launch the “You are not alone” campaign to support children orphaned by COVID-19 – the hidden victims of the pandemic.

The “You are not alone” campaign aims to support disadvantaged children orphaned by COVID-19 within the networks of participating organizations, as well as extending support towards the wider community through an open application system where any orphaned child outside their existing networks can seek help.

A representative from the Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam Fatherland Committee visits and presents gifts to children orphaned by COVID-19 in the city. Photo: QDND

According to estimates from HCM City Department of Education and Training, in Ho Chi Minh City alone, 1,517 children at all levels of education have been orphaned by COVID-19 in the past few months. This number is much higher when considering all the children not included in the education system, and in other provinces and cities of the country. In combination with governmental support, participation of NGOs specializing in supporting children is essential to the transparent and efficient concentration and allocation of resources.

Children losing a parent are at risk of serious psychological trauma, which, without proper support, can have serious long-term impacts on their mental wellbeing and curtail their chances of success later on in life. In particular, children with families already in difficult financial circumstances, who have now lost the main provider for the family, will require material support along with long-term commitment towards education and emotional support, QDND reported.

“You are not alone” will focus not only on providing financial support to the children, but will also provide mental support and guidance. Combining the diverse experiences and expertise in social work, the participating organizations will be able to aid children in coping with the traumas of bereavement, provide responsible counselling on issues surrounding life and education, encourage and assist children in their personal development, and create a safety net to support these children in the absence of their parent. In essence, the collaboration between participating organizations will help these children overcome the psychological shock and trauma of losing a parent, and prevent this tragedy from affecting the child’s potential.

Two kids leave a Covid-19 centralized quarantine facility in HCMC's Thu Duc City in June along with a family member, June 2021. Photo: VNE

Other organizations also launched projects to lend the children a helping hand.

Nguyen Ngoc Nhung, vice chairwoman of the city unit of the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers Organization, said: "The Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers Organization has launched a program sponsoring annual scholarships to the orphans, each worth US$ 132 per one student until they graduate from high school. Those from underprivileged families will also enjoy the financial support, said Nguyen Ngoc Nhung, vice chairwoman of the organization"

The program has attracted over 150 individuals and groups, raising over 400 scholarships that worth nearly US$ 263.

Meanwhile, the Hanoi Department of Education and Training has collected 2,345 devices, including computers, laptops, smart phones, and other equipment to help needy students catch up with their online curriculum. Many of the donated items have reportedly been handed to families who previously couldn’t afford them.

The department aims to achieve the “dual goals” of ensuring the safety of teachers and students and maintaining qualified teaching and learning results.

A child in a protective suit prepares to enter Covid-19 quarantine in Hanoi's Thanh Xuan District, September 1, 2021. Photo: VNE

According to research published in British medical journal The Lancet in July 2021, more than 1.5 million children worldwide have lost a parent, custodial grandparent or other secondary familial caregivers to Covid.

Another study by the US CDC, USAID, World Bank, and the University of London found that globally, for every two people who died of Covid one child lost a parent or caregiver.

The COVID-19 pandemic, first originated in Wuhan city, China’s Hubei province, and has now spread to 221 countries and territories, devastating the life hundreds of thousands of patients. Nearly 4.7 million deaths have been reported worldwide.

In Vietnam, the latest resurgence broke out on April 27, and has infected 752,186 people, claiming 18,584 lives. HCMC remains the biggest epicenter while the situation in the northern city of Hanoi has abated.