Authorities said by the end of this year four districts in Ho Chi Minh City will have registered no poor families (defined as earning less than VND 6 million or US $375 per annum per capita) thanks to an effective program whereby the poor help one another.
The city Steering Committee for Starvation Elimination and Poverty Alleviation said that the four districts are 3, 5, 6, and Phu Nhuan.
One of the most effective methods in poverty reduction in the past years has been the establishment of support teams whose members assist one another. So far the city has had over 3,100 such teams with 42,645 households saving nearly VND1.7 billion.
One success story is that of team leader #2 in district 4’s ward 16, Mrs. Dang Kim Hoa. Mrs. Hoa, 55 years old, had several times thought of fleeing her debtors after borrowing at high interests to support her sick husband and two children as she was toiling as a seamstress for a meager income. However, now that her house has been repaired, her two children hold stable jobs, and her husband’s medical insurance is free (thanks to state programs), she has decided to chip a small sum into her team’s joint fund to fight poverty.
“When the poor do not depend on the government and rely on themselves to reduce poverty, the effect is great,” Mrs. Hoa told Sai Gon Giai Phong.
The CEO of Viet Hung Garment Company Phan Cong Minh said that although donating money to the poor is a cherished Vietnamese tradition, it is now time to help the poor help themselves. He proposes doing this by offering them jobs, and this year alone, his company has hired over 20 physically challenged and economically disadvantaged people.
Meanwhile, vice director of Van Thinh Phat Company Nguyen Huu Lap said private enterprises and the government must join hands to create jobs and grant soft loans for the poor.
According to the deputy chairman of the HCMC People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Tai, caring for the poor does not just involve increasing their income but also entails creating jobs and providing education, thus improving their living standards.