Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of Southeast Asia. It extends 1,000 miles from the Chinese border in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. Cambodia and Laos share the country’s western borders. At its narrowest point, Vietnam is only about 30 miles wide.

  • Population: 87,848,000
  • Life Expectancy: 76 years
  • Access to Safe Water: 96%
  • School Enrollment: 99%
  • Land Mass: 127,880 sq. mi.
  • Literacy Rate: 93%
  • Under Age 5 Mortality Rate: 23/1000
  • Average Annual Income (GNI): 1,400

Facts about Vietnam

Vietnam is highly prone to different types of natural disasters. Typhoons are the most common.

Though Vietnam has made significant progress in the numbers of underweight children, stunting is still very high. As of 2009, the stunting rate of children under 5 was 31.9 percent.

Logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices have contributed to soil degradation and deforestation. Other environmental issues include water pollution, overfishing, contaminated potable water supplies, and urbanization.

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Progress in Vietnam

Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2013.

  • Established 30 support networks for farmers, providing 1,400 people with training in fruit and vegetable cultivation, animal husbandry, and crop and animal disease prevention and treatment, helping to increase household incomes.

  • Provided 732 farmers with access to microloans to expand their farms or start small businesses, enabling them to earn more income to meet their families’ basic needs.

  • Supplied classroom materials and improved the infrastructure for seven local schools and conducted educational awareness sessions with 546 caregivers, increasing preschool and kindergarten enrollment.

  • Trained over 50 primary school teachers on improved teaching methods in an effort to help increase the number of children with strong reading skills.

  • Formed two parent-teacher committees, encouraging moms and dads to promote reading skills at home and be more involved in their children’s education.

  • Educated over 800 girls and boys about their rights and other child protection issues to help keep them safe.

  • Helped establish 36 children’s clubs, encouraging kids to be positive, active citizens and participate in activities and projects throughout their communities.

  • Assisted nearly 50 out-of-school youth with vocational training to build skills that will help them earn an income.

  • Trained 174 community health workers, nutrition volunteers, and kindergarten teachers in basic child nutrition and healthcare. As a result, 564 parents reported having an increased understanding of nutrition and childhood diseases.

  • Worked to prevent childhood injuries and illnesses by training 64 community leaders, 409 parents, and 119 children on the prevention of injuries and HIV and AIDS awareness and other childhood diseases.

  • Organized 168 community members to form emergency relief teams and instructed them in flood prevention and climate change issues. These people have now raised awareness among an additional 700 of their neighbors and helped them create household disaster plans.

  • Partnered with the Red Cross to train 29 emergency relief team members in first aid and rescue.

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    World Vision in Vietnam Today

    World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Vietnam to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision’s child sponsorship program plays a vital role in this partnership, with donors from the United States sponsoring more than 4,800 girls and boys. In addition to sponsorship, World Vision operates other programs that benefit communities in Vietnam. Highlights include:

    • Benefiting 67,000 children under 5 and their parents through nutrition programs.
    • Improving the quality of education by training teachers and establishing reading clubs.
    • Empowering children and giving them opportunities to be involved in all decisions concerning their life at home and in the community.

    World Vision History in Vietnam

    World Vision work began in 1960 in Vietnam, but was suspended in 1975. World Vision continued to provide a small amount of assistance in the country, and to help Vietnamese refugees. Child sponsorship resumed in 1992. Since then, some major accomplishments include:

    • Supporting orphanages and providing care for malnourished and abandoned infants during the 1960s.
    • Providing civil war refugees with food and offering specialized training for teachers, social workers, and public health nurses during the 1970s.
    • Helping communities recover from typhoons that damaged rice crops by rebuilding dikes and supplying new seeds for planting throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
    • Creating and sustaining jobs through a microenterprise program since the early 21st century.

    Geography & People

    Geography and people

    Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of Southeast Asia. It extends 1,000 miles from the Chinese border in the north to the Gulf of Thailand in the south. Cambodia and Laos share the country’s western borders. At its narrowest point, Vietnam is only about 30 miles wide.

    Much of the land is rugged and densely forested, and river deltas contain rich soil. The tropical climate includes a monsoon season as well as frequent typhoons.

    Natural resources include phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, oil, natural gas, forests, and hydropower. More than half of the labor force works in agriculture. Products include rice, coffee, rubber, cotton, and tea.

    Almost 90 percent of people are ethnic Vietnamese, making this country one of the most homogenous societies in Southeast Asia. The official language is Vietnamese, but people also speak English, French, and Chinese.

    Vietnamese names are traditionally in the order of family name first, then the given name. If a person has three names, the middle name comes before the given name.


    Although Vietnam declared independence from France after World War II, Vietnam did not gain its freedom until a few years later. The 1954 Geneva Agreement divided the country into North and South Vietnam, sparking the 20-year Vietnam War.

    In 1973, U.S. involvement in the war ended and the two sides signed a peace settlement. Communist forces from the north reunited the country in 1975.

    Vietnam continues to be a one-party state ruled by the Vietnamese Communist Party. The government has committed to enacting more liberal economic policies and reforms in order to boost the economy.

    In January 2007, after a 20-year wait, Vietnam became a member of the World Trade Organization. Citizens hope this move will continue to boost the economy and help ensure liberalizing reforms today.

    Prayer Requests for Vietnam

    • For the nearly 30,000 children working in hazardous conditions, that they may have opportunities for a brighter future.
    • For girls and children with disabilities to have the same access to education as boys.
    • For children to have access to the resources they need to enjoy a better future.
    • For the safety of World Vision staff members as they travel and serve communities in Vietnam.