Voluntourism in Vietnam

Looking for a unique travel experience that has purpose, besides seeing fantastic sights? How about a fundraising trek to bring clean water to children in northern Vietnam. 

Vietnam is also known for its breathtaking scenery and history 
A Cao Bang girl who has benefited from clean drinking water 

ChildFund New Zealand is inviting adventurous Kiwis to take on the ChildFund Challenge: Trek Vietnam – a once in a lifetime travel opportunity that will also raise funds to bring clean, safe drinking water to children in the remote Cao Bang province of Vietnam. 

Chief Executive of ChildFund, Paul Brown, says for those who are interested, the trip will be both a wonderful adventure and a fundraising challenge.  “Our intrepid travellers will begin their journey in New Zealand, with fitness training to prepare them for the hilly terrain of Northern Vietnam, and fundraising to donate to our water project in the area.” 

The trek will also go far beyond the typical routes found in glossy holiday brochures – into bamboo forests, along mountain paths high above the valley floor, and with overnight stays in small mountain villages complete with traditional local hospitality.

The real highlight of the trip however will be the visit to a ChildFund New Zealand project – “where there travellers will see firsthand how their support will change the lives of children and families in Cao Bang to through provision of clean, safe drinking water,” says Brown.

The funds raised prior to the trek will provide:

  • Materials to build 100 water filters for 100 families in the area
  • Workshops for local men and women on how to construct water filters
  • Training on how to use the water filters
  • Water tests to make sure the gift of clean water is a lasting solution

The new voluntourism – adventures with a cause

The term ‘voluntourism’ sometimes comes with negative associations, as volunteers can be seen as taking a role overseas that a local may be able to benefit from. But with the adventure fundraising model of the ChildFund Challenge, managed through Inspired Adventures, this is an impactful and sustainable way to provide funds and skills training to the local community which will enable them to help themselves in ways that are most effective long-term. 

ChildFund’s experience in Vietnam

Recently marking their 20 year milestone, ChildFund Vietnam is now present in eight districts across three provinces in the north of the country, where the majority of families are from ethnic minority groups and among the poorest in the country.

“Annually, more than 20 projects are implemented, assisting over 33,000 children and their families in the areas of education, health, water and sanitation, and livelihoods,” Brown says.

ChildFund New Zealand’s funding is concentrated in the Cao Bang province, a remote and difficult to access part of Vietnam, a feature which contributes to the especially high rate of poverty. The focus on helping this province first started in 2009. 

“New Zealanders currently sponsor more than 1,700 children in the province as part of a 5 year project from 2014-2019 to build stronger, more resilient communities in Cao Bang. The focus on this area means we can make a concentrated effort and donors can also see the direct impact of Kiwi generosity.

“We have already seen how successful our initiatives can be in the district of Quang Uyen, where we have taught modern farming methods to over 2,300 farmers, provided loans to households to buy farming tools or animals, and trained youth in farming or construction to create a source of income. 

“Our vision is to create a place where children are protected from poverty and have access to greater opportunities to reach their full potential in these remote areas of Vietnam,” Brown says. 

If you wish to learn more and register your interest, head to the ChildFund website here

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