Imprints of South Korean NGOs

10:49, 26/07/2022

Currently, over 50 foreign non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are operating in Thai Nguyen province with more than 40 projects implemented in various fields. Among them, NGOs from South Korea make up the majority. With methodical and scientific methods, diverse and practical forms of support, South Korean NGOs have been making significant contributions to the socio-economic development and poverty reduction of the locality.

According to a report by the Department of Foreign Affairs, from 2018 to now, about 10 South Korean NGOs have been maintaining operation in Thai Nguyen, such as: Korea Food for the Hungry International (KFHI), Global Civic Sharing (GCS), Saemaul Globalization Foundation… Activities of these organizations focus on different fields including: education, healthcare, building capacity for people, sustainable rural development, environmental protection, climate change... The beneficiaries of these projects are mainly children, women, the poor in disadvantaged areas and minority areas.

Mrs. Dang Thi Kim Oanh, Deputy Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, informed: Not only accounting for a large number, South Korean NGOs operating in the province also have a very scientific, methodical and longtime supportive working method and always keep close coordination with functional agencies as well as the areas benefiting from them. The targets and contents of the programs and projects are closely related to the annual socio-economic development plans and the program to strengthen the cooperation and mobilization of foreign non-governmental aid of the province in the period 2021-2025; strictly comply with the provisions of Vietnamese law. The projects have brought many practical effects, especially in the care and comprehensive development of children; supporting knowledge, livelihood, and promoting internal resources for people in difficult areas. In the areas and units supported by South Korean NGOs, after the end of the projects, many methods and contents were maintained and continued to be replicated.

Among South Korean NGOs operating in Thai Nguyen, KFHI is a unit with the longest operating time and implementing projects in the most locations. From the model implemented in Phu Ly, Hop Thanh and On Luong communes (Phu Luong) since 2010, KFHI's project has expanded to support 12 communes and wards in districts of Phu Luong, Dong Hy districts, Vo Nhai and Thai Nguyen City. These projects are very diverse and practical, from investing in facilities, school equipment and public works to supporting breeding cows, training knowledge for households in absolute and relative poverty, support people affected by COVID-19 pandemic...

Mr. Nguyen Van Can, Vang hamlet, Lien Minh commune (Vo Nhai) was supported by the "Village of Hope" Project of Korean GCS Organization to borrow money to buy breeding buffaloes.

Phu Do is the first commune of Phu Luong district to be sponsored by KFHI to implement the Project “Child-focused Community Transformation (CFCT) for the period 2020-2029”. Talking about this support, teacher Nguyen Ngoc Duong, Vice Principal of Phu Do 1 Secondary School, shared: The school has 310 students, 170 of them are from households in absolute and relative poverty, disabled children and ethnic minority children who have directly benefited from the project. In the last 2 years, KFHI have gave gifts and school supplies to children at the beginning of school year, on holidays and New Year; organized periodical health check-ups; trained life skills, organized tours for children to experience at cultural and historical sites... The project also supports many other works and equipment for the school; organized training courses for teachers, especially child-centered educational method; and applies information technologies in teaching...

Or Global Civic Sharing (GCS) that is implementing the "Village of Hope" project in communes in the districts of Vo Nhai, Dinh Hoa, Dong Hy and Pho Yen City. The project supports poor households with a loan at low interest rates to buy buffaloes and training programs for farmers to improve their capacity and promote their self-reliance.

Ms. Tran Thi Ca, Vang hamlet, Lien Minh commune (Vo Nhai) is one of the households receiving support from the "Village of Hope" project of GCS Korea. Ms. Ca said: My husband passed away a long time ago, I struggled to raise my two children, and my life was very difficult. I got a loan of 26 million VND (interest rate of 2%/year) to buy breeding buffaloes. The first breeding buffalo gave birth to 4 calves. Thus, in addition to the payback, I still have nearly 100 million dong. That money helps me raise my children and repair the house.

During the implementation, officials and people in areas benefiting from the projects also have opportunities to visit and study in South Korea, especially in Gyeongsangbuk-do – a sister province of Thai Nguyen; and South Korean volunteers also enthusiastically supported Thai Nguyen’s farmers: picking tea, painting walls, cleaning the environment... Therefore, the relationship between the volunteers and local people is always warm, cordial and friendly; they still maintain exchange and contact after the projects end.

It can be said that the enhanced cooperation with foreign nongovernmental organizations, especially from South Korea, has contributed to promoting the province's socio-economic development. Thereby, the two sides have expanded cultural exchange, enhanced people-to-people diplomacy, contributing to creating a strong breakthrough in comprehensive cooperation, promoting the twinning relationship between Thai Nguyen and provinces of South Korea. It is more meaningful when Vietnam and South Korea are preparing activities towards the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations (December 22, 1992 - February 22, 2022).