“COVID-19 has really hit my family hard,” shared Cheo, a 29-year-old mother of three children, all with a disability. Before the pandemic, her family’s income mainly came the daily wage of her husband Ngoan who, like their children, has also lived with Agent Orange-induced disability since birth.


Sympathizing with the plight of Cheo and Ngoan’s family, their neighbors would usually offer Ngoan some easy tasks so that he could earn enough to cover his family’s basic expenses. Meanwhile, Cheo stayed home to take care of the smallest daughter, Hoa, and the small tuckshop which added some useful extra income to the family budget when casual work for Ngoan was scarce. Although they were poor, they worked tirelessly to ensure education for their first two daughters, Huyen and Hanh.


Our life was not easy before the pandemic but it has become even harder now because of COVID-19,” Cheo adds.


The coronavirus outbreak started in Vietnam in early February. As of 5 February, schools in most provinces were temporarily closed and a nationwide lockdown policy started on April 1.


Everyone stayed at home. My daughters stopped going to school. My husband got no work and my shop was closed,” Cheo recounts, “so the day I learnt that we were among the 420 households to receive food aid, I was so happy I counted every passing second to the next morning to receive rice for the next meals.”


World Vision’s Nam Giang Area Program partnered with local authorities to identify severely affected households with MVC and RC. Those in critical need were each provided with 25 kgs of rice and 5 liters of cooking oil. This emergency intervention aimed at improving their food security for at least a month before the livelihoods restoration activities of chicken rearing and home-grown gardens could take place.

Besides food aid and livelihoods support, the Area Program also paid attention to helping parents and children cope with stress during the lockdown. “I was worried because my daughters always preferred playing outside with other kids. Luckily, the commune Child Protection Committee visited us and shared a lot of helpful knowledge in stress management and child protection,” shared Cheo with relief.


Cheo, in red, counted every passing second until the next morning to receive rice for the next meals.

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