Unveiling Anh Duong Center, Mekong Plus’ Local Partner Transforming Lives in the Heart of the Mekong Delta

In the heart of the Long Mỹ district, an inspiring journey of community development unfolds through the tireless efforts of Anh Duong Center. Established in 2008, this non-governmental organization has been a beacon of hope, striving to uplift the lives of those facing economic hardships. Let’s explore the profound impact and multifaceted initiatives championed by Anh Duong.

Long My district in Mekong Delta Vietnam

Long Mỹ district, in Mekong Delta, Vietnam

A Beacon of Community Development

Anh Duong Center’s inception in 2008 marked a shift in the landscape of community development in Hậu Giang province. Born out of Mekong Plus’ desire to collaborate with a local NGO, the organization embarked on a mission to empower economically disadvantaged households.

In the words of Bernard Kervyn, Mekong Plus’ founder: “We believe development projects should be run by local people, as it is more efficient and sustainable. After many years, Mekong Plus and Anh Duong Center continue to work effectively and closely together.”  Over the years, this mission has expanded to encompass no less than three districts of Hậu Giang province — Long Mỹ, Phụng Hiệp, and Vị Thuỷ — and the town of Long Mỹ.

Anh Duong Center boasts a 17-member team, composed exclusively of locals. Their diverse expertise spans agriculture, animal husbandry, veterinary sciences, aquaculture, rural development, healthcare, and more. Being natives, they possess an innate understanding of the needs and challenges faced by the community, fostering the implementation of sustainable and effective community development projects. “The Anh Duong team is very stable, highly committed. The communication within the team does not suffer from any sudden outside decisions, they are in control.” reminds Bernard Kervyn.

Philosophy of Community Development

At the core of Anh Duong Center’s philosophy lies community participation. The organization strategically focuses on aiding the most impoverished households, crafting low-cost economic models for their involvement. The success and sustainability of projects hinge on community engagement, turning local voices into the architects of change.

Holistic Community Support Programs

Poverty Reduction Program

Anh Duong Center’s microfinance project has empowered 4,703 households, providing sustainable aid for agriculture, livestock, and small-scale businesses. The organization has also reconstructed 146 homes for the extremely poor affected by natural disasters.

The Anh Duong Center team and Bernard Kervyn visiting a project of house reconstruction

The Anh Duong Center team and Bernard Kervyn visiting a project of house reconstruction

Agriculture Program

Anh Duong Center has organized 817 technical training sessions for 2,850 participants, disseminating knowledge on farming, animal husbandry, and fishery. The organization has introduced innovative farming models like greenhouse vegetable cultivation, VACBH (Garden-Pond-Cage-Biogas-Pit), and more.

Education and School Support Program

Scholarship initiatives by Anh Duong Center have granted 21,083 scholarships to underprivileged students, ensuring increased school attendance. Health education programmes, including dental care and vision screening activities, have benefited 14,663 preschoolers and 29,776 primary school students.

This student received a scholarship and is now studying English at the university

This student received a scholarship and is now studying English at the university.

Health and Gender Program

Training sessions and safe spaces established by Anh Duong Center have aided 211 women and facilitated legal support for 6 cases, addressing gender issues and preventing domestic violence. Gender education and life skills programs in 15 secondary schools have trained 20,634 students.

Environmental Hygiene Program

Anh Duong Center has drilled 2,709 wells, constructed 3,332 latrines, and implemented 1,223 biogas systems, encouraging environmental consciousness. The organization also supports sustainable housing, promoting the use of recycled plastic for housing.

A biogas installation turning pig organic wastes into gas that can be used to cook

A biogas installation, turning pig organic wastes into gas that can be used to cook

Employment Program

In addition to its impactful contributions to rural infrastructure, Anh Duong Center has ushered in a wave of economic empowerment through its Employment Program.

Beyond constructing 162 km of roads and 245 small concrete bridges, the organization has created 95 jobs in artisanal crafts for local women and men. Notably, these artisanal jobs find their embodiment in Mekong Quilts, where dozens of women are employed to skillfully craft handcrafted products like bed quilts, water hyacinth bags, bamboo bicycles, and more. This initiative not only preserves traditional craftsmanship but also provides these artisans with a sustainable income, empowering them to support their families and fostering a cycle of economic resilience within the community.

One of Mekong Quilts artisan turning water hyacinths into fashionable handbags

One of Mekong Quilt’s artisan turning water hyacinths into fashionable handbags

From Student to Teacher: Chau’s Inspiring Journey with Anh Duong’s Scholarship Programme

A shining example of how much Anh Duong Center’s community projects can change lives is the case of Dao Thi Bang Chau, born in 1996 in hamlet 5, Long Tri A commune. Despite familial challenges and health issues, Chau’s educational path was illuminated by Anh Duong Center’s consistent annual scholarship of 20 euros (540,000 VND) from 2008 to 2012.

Chau’s mother, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu, reflects on their past struggles, “Chau’s family was living in very difficult conditions; she herself was thin due to lung disease. Chau’s brother and sister had to drop out. Chau’s mother was both happy and worried, seeing Chau eager to study.” The scholarship not only eased financial burdens but served as a powerful motivator.

Ms Chau with one of her student

Ms Chau with one of her student

Fuelled by this support, Chau harbored a dream of becoming a teacher. Despite facing financial constraints, she excelled academically, even working part-time to meet additional expenses. Post high school, she successfully passed the pedagogical college entrance exam, realizing her dream of becoming a teacher at Vinh Thuan Dong 2 primary school.

Chau’s journey stands as a testament to the transformative power of education and Anh Duong Center’s enduring impact on individuals, families, and communities.

Impact and Future Aspirations

With over 18 years of impactful service, Anh Duong Center has facilitated thousands of families in escaping poverty’s clutches. Students now have improved access to education, women in rural areas find employment, and environmental awareness permeates the community.

A group of women working on quilts in a rural village of Vietnam

A group of women working on quilts in a rural village of Vietnam

Ms. Sang, the lead fundraiser at Anh Duong Center, passionately shares, “To be honest, the successful thing for me after 7 years of fundraising is to keep the old donors supporting us for a long time; some donors have supported us for 8-10 years or more. Especially donors who come to visit the projects directly continue to support, trust, and are impressed by what we have done for the community. The challenge for me is to reach new donors because we work in rural areas, and there aren’t many companies or corporations in our regions. The impact of the scholarship program is to reduce the rate of poor students dropping out of school. Many of the poor students with scholarships have reached their dreams of becoming doctors, teachers, accountants, serving the community, and earning income to support their families.

The road ahead for Anh Duong Center envisions a poverty-free region. Each day, they strive to make community development projects more robust and effective. The collective effort of all is crucial to realizing this ambition.

A Glimpse into the Heart of Transformation

In the serene landscapes of Long Mỹ, Anh Duong Center emerges as a symbol of resilience, empowerment, and community-driven change. Their multifaceted programs touch every aspect of life, creating a ripple effect that resonates across households and generations. Anh Duong Center isn’t just an organization; it’s a testament to the boundless potential of communities when given the right support and tools for transformation. Join hands with Anh Duong Center—a journey towards a brighter, more prosperous future for all.

Many ways for you to make a generous contribution :

As Anh Duong Center continues to pioneer change in Long Mỹ, your support becomes integral. Whether it’s through volunteering, spreading awareness, or contributing to their initiatives, your involvement can be a catalyst for lasting change.

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