Focus 2005

VietNam - VIE15-11-2005

Project: Services to Immigrant Workers and Technical Schools
Date of foundation: (1974) 1984
Place: Ho Chi Minh City
Province: Vietnam (VIE)

Young people in Vietnam’s larger cities are beginning to show signs of being attracted by the consumer society, and by a self-centred life-style also reflected by drug and alcohol consumption. The values of the traditional family of Vietnamese countryside are unable to withstand the influence of a western consumerism that attracts the young to the cities in search of work. According to an estimate by Ho Chi Minh City's Department for Labour and Social Affairs, about 100,000 migrants come into the metropolis every year. It says 1.2 million of them have registered with local authorities in the city. Businesses and factories in the district, which contains industrial parks and export zones, employ 150,000 workers, 15,000 of whom are Catholics.

In response to the needs of young people, the Salesians have entered into a collaboration with the Government and the local Church through two specific projects for the welfare of youth:

1. Salesians in Vietnam are reaching out to thousands of migrant workers that flock to the city from other parts of the country. Over the past 10 years, Salesians have held pastoral and social activities for migrant workers in Thu Duc district of Ho Chi Minh City. The parish of Xuan Hiep holds three marriage-preparation courses every year that attract 300-400 young people. About 100 young workers come to the church every evening to say the rosary, pray, discuss social issues and ask questions about love, marriage, career and other issues. Though it has only 1,200 registered parishioners, as many as six Masses are celebrated on a Sunday to accommodate some 6,000 migrant workers. Observing that many workers cannot afford bottled drinking water, a water filtering system in the yard of the church has been installed that supplies them with 3,000 litres of drinking water a day. Money has also been spent on improving the small rooms in which most migrant workers live. A plan is on to construct more and better boarding rooms for them.

2. Another significant area in which the Salesians are working for young people of the Vietnamese society is through technical education. The Salesians in Vietnam have moved into the area of technical education on a large scale in the region of the Central Mekong Delta. Since 2000, thanks to a change in Government policy regarding private schools, the Salesians have begun moving out to places that are situated away from the main cities and are providing education for youngsters without other opportunities. The expansion of the Salesians has led to an increase in esteem for their work, as a result of which the new opening in the Central Mekong Delta was offered them by the local authorities who have provided the land and exempted them from paying taxes. This new arrangement has made it possible to help the poorest youngsters through technical training, in one of the most needy districts. Since the 1990 have been running small scale vocation training center in 10 parishes around. This project is still active. Since 2002 the Salesians are already running two vocational training centers in two provinces close to HCM City - Vung Tau and Lam Dong. The next development is in the Mekong Delta region - Vin Long province.

Address: P.O. Box 767
Tp. Ho Chi Minh
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