"House churches multiplying in Vietnam" in the Sept 2012 issue of Mission Crossroads
The work of Church World Service (CWS) in Vietnam has evolved over the last 25 years from an emphasis on relief and reconciliation to a focus on grassroots development, especially among ethnic minority communities, and human rights advocacy. CWS has been able to establish a good working relationship with the Vietnamese government, enabling support of some of the most vulnerable populations.
Principal Nguyen Thi Hai’s boarding school is in the highlands of Vietnam. The parents of students do their best to support the family by subsistence farming. Because of poverty and cultural bias, many girls do not attend school. Consequently, 70 percent of those in Vietnam who cannot read are women, mostly from ethnic minority groups. This school and others like it struggle with inadequate facilities. Working with Mrs. Nguyen, CWS provides mosquito netting, blankets and clothing to the children. The library has some new books, and a well in the courtyard provides safe water. “Before the well, we needed to carry water a long distance just to cook. Now we have enough to bathe daily. I’m sending girls from our school to talk with girls from their villages, to persuade them to come to school, too.” CWS also offers boarding school instructors training in teaching skills and techniques.
My Le Phoung, a CWS-trained social worker from an ethnic minority community, organized Mai Handicrafts to teach poor children marketable skills. The project evolved to focus more on their mothers and older sisters since women have so few opportunities. It now provides more than 150 women with training, loans and access to new markets for their handiwork. CWS is supported by gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing.
The PC(USA) continues to explore the possibility of partnerships with:.
Vietnam Partner Churches and Organizations
Evangelical Churches of South Vietnam
The Presbyterian Church of Vietnam
Evangelical Churches of North Vietnam
Church World Service, Vietnam
Vietnam Mission Network
For information contact Mienda Uriarte
The Vietnam Mission Network is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.
Learn more about Vietnam
Visit the BBC country profile.