These are the words that come to mind as I prepare for my upcoming Habitat for Humanity trip to Vietnam in September! After having volunteered multiple times with HfH over the past 6 years, I’m very excited and grateful to be included in this upcoming trip to build homes for vulnerable families in the Long An province of Vietnam. It will be my first taste at volunteering in Southeast Asia.
My first experiences with Habitat for Humanity in Central America and Central Africa were exciting, rewarding and life supporting. They inspired me to do more for the global community and to fulfill some lifelong dreams and goals to give back. I’m certain that Vietnam will give me the opportunity to experience new adventures, reflect on my personal journey and meet incredible, like-minded people.

Here are some of the most interesting and unique things about Vietnam and this trip:

  • Vietnam has a population of over 95 million ranking it 15th out of 238th countries in the world
  • Until the 1980s, most of the Vietnamese population still lived under the poverty line. However, thanks to the political and economic reform in 1986 and the government’s commitment, the status of poverty and hunger in Vietnam has been significantly improved
  • From one of the poorest countries in the world with per capita income below $100 USD per year, Vietnam is now a middle income country with per capita income of $1,910 USD by the end of 2013.
  • The poverty rate decreased gradually from 58% in 1993 to 28.9% in 2002, 14.5% in 2008, 12%in 2011 and 7.0% in 2015. This means that over 7 million Vietnamese still live below the national poverty line.
  • There is still widespread poverty, especially farmers and people who live in rural, isolated, mountainous or disaster prone areas. The poor lack production means and cultivated lands, in addition to having limited access to state credit, education, clean water and adequate housing.
  • The GDP per capita (PPP) is only $6,000 and is ranked 161 out of 229 countries in the entire world
  • Habitat for Humanity in Vietnam works with low income households living below the poverty line
  • Over 6.7 million Vietnamese live in temporary or sub-standard housing. Low-income families living in poorly built housing are trapped in annual cycles of repairs.
  • More than half of rural dwellers lack adequate sanitation.
  • Over one third do not have access to clean water.
  • Every 7 in 10 people also face the risk of typhoons, torrential storms and flooding that hit the country every year.
  • Vietnam is a proud nation rich in culture, immense beauty and history
  • Vietnam is bordered by Cambodia, China and Laos

I’m ready for another adventure of a lifetime. The life lessons I’ll take with me include: live with passion and live with purpose. I’m leaving on a jet plane …

We’re continuing to build our momentum in making a positive change and difference in this world. These trips allow GIVEGROWGO to experience extreme poverty first-hand and more importantly, to witness the incredible human spirit that lives and flourishes even in these harsh realities. If you are passionate about philanthropy, travel, children, life purpose, volunteering and off-the-beaten-path experiences, GIVEGROWGO is looking for you!