Dien Ban is an impoverished countryside region, 10 minutes drive from the popular UNESCO World Heritage tourist destination of Hoi An City, in Quang Nam Province, Central Vietnam. It has a population of approximately 200,000; nearly 50% of households make their living from the agricultural, forestry and aquaculture sectors. The monthly average income in Dien Ban is $49.
Dien Ban has one of the highest proportions of disadvantaged children and children with disability in Central Vietnam. The local government authorities attribute this, in part, to the fact that area was heavily bombed and sprayed with defoliants during the war with the United States, a legacy that continues to this day.
Many of the children with disability in this region are considered to be third generation dioxin victims. Dien Ban was amongst the top 10% of districts most heavily bombed. Poverty and poor medical care are other contributory factors to the high percentage of disability here.
Based on government records, there are over 1,000 children with disability and special needs living in Dien Ban, the majority of whom do not have access to any kind of support services. It is difficult to pinpoint the exact number of children with disability in this area as we regularly encounter children who are not listed on any government list.
To address this need, the Kianh Foundation built a custom-designed Day Centre for children with disability. The centre is the first of its kind in the region and will address a critical gap by providing much-needed special education and therapies such as physiotherapy and speech to children with disability.
This project directly contributes to the Vietnamese Government’s Socio-Economic Development Strategy and Plan. It supports Vietnam’s achievements of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and its commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Finally, the project will become an example of good practice and capacity building that could be replicated in other areas of Vietnam.