Country report of Vietnam Blind Association (2013-2014)
After the 8th General Assembly of WBU and WBU AP in 2012 in Thailand, Vietnam Blind Association (VBA) also organized our 8th Congress for the term 2012-2017 in the end of December 2012. The theme for this term is: Solidarity – Democracy – Innovation – Integration, actively participating in government and for the hapiness of the blind.(Government programs that VBA follows are about poverty eraducation, vocational training, job creation, people’s living standard, cultural life building in the society, etc.
Vietnam has also issued Law on the Disabled Persons and some social welfare policies such as regular allowance, support for housing, health care insurance and support the poor which have helped the blind to have a stable life. The government of Vietnam signed the CRPD and is actively promoting its Assembly to ratisfy the CRPD by the end of this year.
During last two years, VBA has also met challenges in its activities due to difficult economy and harsh disaster which affected the file of people in general and the blind in particular. VBA has tried to get help and support from the government, of the society and international donor organizations.
VBA set up two blind branches at provincial level and recruited over 1,500 blind members. Up to now we have 52 blind associations nationwide with more than 66,000 members.
VBA pays its attention to qualification of the leadership from the central to local blind association levels. VBA organized many training programs on leadership, working skills, communication skills, fund raising and some other programs. In addition, some activities are designed for blind children and women.
Although life and economy in our country is difficult, VBA still organizes 334 collective production units, attracting over 4,000 members. In which there are 205 massage units with more than 2,000 massagers.
Vocational training and employment creation are also important activities. Every year, about 300 blind people are trained such jobs as massage, handicraft, farming, raising, information computer technology, etc. Massage is defined as a major job for the blind in Vietnam. VBA attends regional massage seminars which were organized by WBU AP. After trainings, blind members are facilitated to get incentives loans from the government to open their own household economy or collective production units. At the moment, VBA is managing 2.3 million USD of government loans for its members.
Many blind people are supported for regular allowance, healthcare insurance, support for housing and illness. These supports are from their production benefit, companies, organisations and private donors domestically and internationally with the amount around 500,000 USD per year.
Education is also one of major activity of VBA. Most of the blind are facilitated to lean Braille, young blind follow integrated education at public school (about 500 blind children) and continue at higher education such as intermediate programs, colleges, universities and post-grauates with abour 200 blind students. For information technology, many young blind and blind leaders have chance to learn computer. Presently VBA has 16 ICT center nationwide and trains nearly 200 trainees each year. To encourage and promote the blind to learn and use computer, in October 2014, VBA organised the first National ICT Festival.
For publicity, VBA often produces monthly newsletter in Braille, CD and cassette tape and provide its members free of charge. Many blind people took part in performances and sport competitions nationwide and abroad, some of them won prizes at athletics and swimming at regional paragames. The regional ONKYO Contest is one of our yearly activities and often got good prizes.
Those activities are aiming to promote the equal right for the blind on education, employment and social activities as other citizens in the society.
- Following theme of the 8th Congress of VBA, we wish to study and share more experiences from blind associations of other countries,
- WBU AP will have more seminars/workshops on leadership skills, fund raising, management skills for its national members.