Southern Africa Youth Project in partnership with Erasmus+ and 4 partner organizations from 4 countries, Lithuania, Peru, Vietnam as well as South Africa run a project called “The Second Chance Project”. The project is focused on building integration program models to empower and reintegrate young ex-offenders and youth at risk back into society. The project initially started with a kick-off meeting hosted by the lead organization called “Integration Center” in Lithuania, were all the representatives from South Africa, Peru and Vietnam met to plan on the deliverables of the project.
CSDC from Vietnam was chosen as the first organization to host the seminar were all four organizations would met for a 9 days seminar to learn and interact with different Community Based Originations that provide support programs for youth at risk in Vietnam.
The seminar started with an awesome 3 days stay at Eco Village which gave all partners a chance to learn and gain extensive knowledge about Vietnamese culture and the systems that are used by local people, one outstanding characteristic of the Vietnamese people is the warm welcome and the reception they give to visitors and I believe it is because they are culture oriented. During our stay at Eco Village, all partners engaged in different teambuilding activities and a session on drugs was hosted by Dr Dvd, which was concluded with a visit to a local organization called “New Horizon” that support IDUs (Injecting Drug User) and the organization is led by a group of ex-IDUs, where they provide support and carpentry skills to youth that are ID users. They also provide needles and referrals for young people that need medical attention or treatment of “Methadone”. We also visited an organization that support Sex workers and IDUs, this helped us understand why they chose such a life and most was because they come from disadvantaged families and some due to unemployment.
We later moved to Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, where we got slightly different experience. The standard of living in Hanoi is more advanced and people have better access to health care, schools and job opportunities. During our stay in Hanoi, we visited different organizations and the first one was “Blue Dragon” and their focus is on rescuing street kids and victims of human trafficking. All partners got an opportunity to interact with the beneficiaries through teambuilding activities, such as games and dancing. Blue Dragon has done enormous work with victims of human trafficking as they have rescued a total number of 800 victims and most have been reunited with their families.
CSDS also treated us to some of their cultural leisure activities, which included puppet show, visits to historical building like prison museum, the historical cave and life time experience on a cruise ship.
Our stay in Hanoi was concluded with a visit to two organization CSDI and “Hoa Binh Social Work Center”, CSDI works as an umbrella organization working with local implementing partners that offer service to vulnerable children and families, their programs focus a lot on HIV prevention, Life skills and support for Youth at risk. It was very interesting for us to learn about their model because Southern Africa Youth Project is applying a similar model in South Africa, this led to us realizing socio-economic issues like Unemployment, Poverty, Crime and Drug abuse are common in most countries amongst youth.
The last organization that we visited was “Hoa Binh Social Work Center” and they focus on providing shelter and food security for vulnerable people from all over Vietnam. Their target groups are children, youth, the elderly and people living with disabilities, their facilities are designed to cater for people of different needs and where the elderly people assist in taking care of the children and disabled people. Most of their beneficiaries are orphans that are from different parts of Vietnam. Partners were able to play fun games with the kids and engage in energizers with all the beneficiaries. This organization also has group of social workers whom assist with counselling and adoption processes.
Southern Africa Youth Project has learnt so many things throughout the 9 days that we spent in Vietnam, more especially from interacting with the different organization and target groups to gain an understanding the challenges that they are faced with. It was also interesting to find out that most NGOs are not supported.