CITO supports World Vision and has set up its own project in Nam Giang in Vietnam. Every year a certain sum of money should be provided for funding projects that would otherwise not have a chance of realisation.
At this point, we would like to tell you more about the development of the projects that we are supporting both now and into the future.
Cooperation between World Vision and CITO
How did the cooperation between World Vision and CITO come about?
Our CEO Jürgen Mariën has been privately supporting the children’s relief organisation World Vision for many years, sponsoring children and providing microcredits, together with his wife. Indeed, he has always been concerned about children, young people and families. As a person who has seen a lot of the world through his work, it soon became clear to him that the scope of his activities could not just be limited to Germany and Europe alone. In January 2019, he and his wife had the opportunity to visit one of his sponsored children personally, when they took part in a group trip to Vietnam organised by World Vision for sponsors such as themselves. Together with the other benefactors, the visit took in a number of different project regions. The sponsors were able to see for themselves the work going on in the local areas, and they took the opportunity to visit schools, children’s groups, health stations and advice centres for young mothers.
For two weeks, he went all over Vietnam, even to the most remote villages on the border with Laos. The state of development varies greatly from one project region to another, but there is one thing that they have in common: they all adopt an approach of helping people to help themselves. It was a joy to witness the commitment with which the local World Vision staff go about their work. The final project region visited by the group was Nam Giang, located in the central highland area not far from the Laos border. This project was initiated in 2015, which makes it relatively recent, bearing in mind that the average project duration is 15 years, so there is still a great deal to be done here. It was only natural that our CEO and his wife would take on additional sponsorships for children in this region too, and upon his return, he even called on corporate friends to persuade them to undertake similar sponsorships, in particular stressing the threefold advantage they bring about – they benefit the child, the family, and the project region.
So what are the reasons behind our decision to publicise both this project and our cooperation with World Vision?
Perhaps it would be best to ask our CEO Jürgen Mariën to explain the decision himself:
“Until now I have always kept silent about what my social conscience moved me to do. I was always of the opinion that when people are in need, it is best to simply help them without creating any fuss about it. But the idea behind this project is to motivate more people to support the children of the world. Only too often, I hear people saying that they don’t know what happens to the money once they have donated it or whether it even finds its way to those who need it. This is why I decided to go and see for myself, and I can wholeheartedly assure you that the support you give World Vision will reach those it is intended for.”
Project area in Nam Giang
After realising just how much could be undertaken in the project regions with relatively little funding, he decided to set up his own project in Nam Giang in association with CITO. An important aspect of these activities is that they maintain a close association with the local World Vision staff in Vietnam. His idea is to provide a certain sum of money every year to be used for funding projects that would otherwise not have a chance of realisation. It is up to the local staff of World Vision to decide how best to distribute the funding.
Project “Pool for teaching children to swim”
The first project is concerned with health and child protection, and consists of the construction of a pool for teaching children to swim, including the necessary sanitary facilities, at two schools in the project region. This project was classified as particularly urgent by the local employees of World Vision, since many children have drowned in the past in the region’s fast-flowing river, particularly during the rainy season. Indeed, the river crosses the route taken by the children on their way to school, making it a hazard of life-threatening proportions. Many parents are even too scared to send their children to school at this time of year. In this way, the project is a pragmatic example of the approach of helping people to help themselves. Most parents in the region also cannot swim, which in turn means that they cannot teach their children to swim. Naturally, the project not only provides funding for construction work but also covers the costs of swimming lessons and first-aid courses for children.
Status quo project in Vietnam Sep. 2019
Today we are able to report on the news from Vietnam. Work has begun on our construction project in Nam Giang.
In Vietnam too, the process for selecting suitable construction firms and contract negotiations are very time-consuming. Companies have to be examined carefully, so that all requirements are met, including the specifications of World Vision, particularly in the context of the development collaboration. The contractors have now been selected and the contracts have been signed.
Work can now finally start!
In June, World Vision employee, Susanne Quadros, made a brief visit to our project and brought back a few photos. The construction site has been selected, the site signs have been erected and the construction programme is agreed. We look forward to receiving information and photos of construction progress again soon.
As the project does not only involve construction work, but in particular, swimming training and first-aid courses for children are the overriding goal, training of the teachers was able to start during the contract negotiations.
- 8 teachers were trained and are now certified as swimming and first-aid teachers, who will then give classes in the future.
- The curriculum has been drawn up, the swimming units integrated into the lessons plan and handed over to the schools.
In October, our CEO Jürgen Mariën and his wife Bianca will be visiting the project to find out about the project development status in person. They will also than use this opportunity to agree the next project for 2020.
The moment has come: Official opening of swimming pool Nov. 2019
My wife and I have just returned from Vietnam. There we once again visited the Nam Giang district. This district lies in the mountains of the Central Vietnamese highlands, not far from the border with Laos.
We were greeted warmly by the children; most of them remembered our visit in January. The highlight of our trip was the official opening of the second swimming pool sponsored by CITO in a school. The aim is for children to learn to swim here in future. In view of the severe flood risk during the rainy season, this can make the lives of the children significantly safer. The first swimming pool was completed several weeks before and is around 80 km away in another school. With the two swimming schools, as many children as possible in the region are to be given the opportunity to learn to swim.
The children’s reception at the official opening of their swimming pool was a very emotional moment for us. We were welcomed with German and Vietnamese flags. And the children called “CITO, CITO, CITO …” repeatedly. As we then also discovered the CITO logo together with the logo of World Vision on the bottom of the pool, we both had to fight back our tears. I hope that I found the right words in my address to express my feelings. In the short speech given by a schoolgirl I became properly aware of how important our project is for the children. Her words: “Thank you for your support. The opportunity to learn to swim gives me and my friends safety and takes away our fear of floods”.
Our work in the region will continue. We have not yet decided which project we will undertake in 2020. Here we trust in the suggestions of our new friends at World Vision Vietnam. We will keep you informed.
Give a better future to children!
Of course, not everybody is in a position to set up his own project. But even a small contribution will help to make the life of a child, his family, and the community in which he or she lives that much better.
If we have aroused your interest, just take a look at the website of World Vision Germany, where you can for example sponsor a child. World Vision operates internationally, for example in the United Kingdom, Italy and the USA. An overview of the work of World Vision can be found on the website of World Vision International.