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Taking Bold Steps for a Brighter Future for Children

The development of childhood (from conception to when a child starts school) lays the foundation for the future cognitive development of children.

On the morning of July 18th, the Ho Chi Minh City Child Protection Association and Planète Enfants et Développemnet in Vietnam (PE&D in Vietnam) organized a conference to review a project focused on comprehensive development care for children in their early years at home and in the community in Ho Chi Minh City.

Mr. Pham Dinh Nghinh, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Child Protection Association, stated that this project has been implemented since mid-2021 in Tan Phu District and Thu Duc City. To date, the project’s social work team has reached out and accompanied over 500 families with children under 6 years old who are in special circumstances or at risk of facing such circumstances.

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Mr. Pham Dinh Nghinh, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Child Protection Association, presenting the project’s activities.

In addition, the project emphasizes the role of training knowledge and child care skills during the early years for parents, especially those caring for children in private kindergartens and child groups – places where incidents of child abuse and violence have occurred in recent times.

Furthermore, units outside the project that provide support services for children and families have connected with other partners, with a total value of over 1 billion VND. These services include financial support, nutrition, livelihood, scholarships, healthcare, personal documentation, and legal assistance for children and families.
Ms. Julia Levivier, the Head of PE&D in Vietnam, highlights the role of caring for children during their early years. She emphasizes that the development of childhood (from conception to when a child starts school) lays the foundation for the future cognitive development of children.

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Ms. Julia Levivier, the Head of PE&D in Vietnam, speaking at the project review session.

Scientific evidence also points out that interaction, positive care, and love from families help children develop fully in terms of intelligence and emotions. Citing the successes of the project, Ms. Julia Levivier also commits to continuing to support upcoming activities.
Ms. Tran Thi Kim Thanh, Head of the Child Protection, Care, and Gender Equality Department (Ho Chi Minh City Department of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs), calls for stronger actions for the childhood of children and suggests that localities develop this project into their own models, thus expanding the activities from the project to maternity hospitals.
According to some reports from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), children’s brains are built and developed rather than being innate. However, many children worldwide still lack various elements needed for optimal brain development, such as nutrition, clean water, healthcare, protection from violence, and abuse prevention.

UNICEF assesses that most children who miss opportunities in their early years are those living in the most disadvantaged communities (vulnerable groups and special circumstances). They have poorer health, fewer learning skills, lose many opportunities and potential in the future. This can affect the economy and increase the burden on social assistance, not to mention creating a cycle of generations in need and dependence.

In Ho Chi Minh City, there are over 1.8 million children, including over 10,000 children in special circumstances (orphans, disabled children, children who have to earn a living without completing lower secondary education, children who have been abused, etc.), and there are over 19,000 children at risk of falling into special circumstances.

Challenges related to child protection and care in Ho Chi Minh City include resources, human resources, especially incomplete child data. Meanwhile, children with disabilities are prone to abuse, violence, and children who wander to earn a living are increasing. Therefore, there is a need for collaborative efforts from all levels of government, organizations, and individuals to build a safe, healthy, and child-friendly environment for all children.

(Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper)

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