The city of Thanh Hoa is located in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam, some 140 km south of the capital city of Hanoi. The population of the city is estimated to be around 400,000.
In the region, 60% of people live off agriculture and 15% work in the service sector, but due to its proximity to Hanoi and the good transportation network between the two cities, industry, construction and trade are growing sources of income and employment
Since 2005, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Tanh Hoa.
The North Central Coast region of Vietnam has a high poverty rate, and the GDP is about half the national average. People in rural areas face particular hardships: due to the poor infrastructure and social welfare measures often don't reach those in need.
As a result; people move from rural to urban areas within the province, but also further afield to other provinces. Internal migrants represent more than 7% of the entire Vietnamese population. This large vulnerable population, especially the women and children among them, are at risk of exploitation. Registering with the authorities becomes a challenge for migrants. Without a registration, it is difficult to access basic services.
Parents often find it hard to meet the basic needs of their children. Tens of thousands of children have lost parental care in Thanh Hoa province. These children depend on their relatives or the authorities for support. From early childhood on, they have to contribute towards earning their living. In rural areas, they usually take care of the animals, pick grass or look after their relatives' younger children. In the cities, they work in restaurants, polish shoes or sell newspapers.
About 86% of children finish lower secondary and only 58% complete upper secondary school. Children with disabilities have an even more challenging time going to school.