Pedals for Progress Now in Vietnam

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Most recently, P4P’s readers have been kept abreast of our endeavors in locations such as Albania, Moldova, Uganda, and Ghana. We are now extremely pleased to announce that a new partner has joined P4P. Located in southwestern Vietnam, the Vinh Long Union of Friendship Organizations (VLUFO) collaborates with us to provide bicycles to the children in the Mekong Delta River region. An active participant funder of VLUFO, the Dariu Foundation (TDF) of Switzerland, has supplied the grant that is funding these initial shipments.

At the moment, there are three branches of the VLUFO. The first two, Vung Liem and Tra On, belong to the Vinh Long province. The third site, Tan Phu, belongs to the Dong Nai province. The bikes are to be distributed to school children in these regions on a scholarship basis and will be based, in part, on the distance from their homes to the school. Fifty percent of the bikes granted are earmarked for female and secondary school students.

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While elementary school tuition in the region is free and the small amount charged for attending junior high is small, it is the cost of textbooks, notebooks, pens, and uniforms that is usually high. If the students cannot acquire these basic requirements, they can’t attend school. A majority of families are affected by financial inconsistency during the school season because they earn their meager living from farming. The threat of flooding, exacerbated by climate change, and a high rate of emigration from the region affect families’ ability to earn a living and maintain strong communities. The children in this region are at the greatest risk of dropping out of school. The VLUFO hopes to reduce the financial burdens associated with educating the children of these families and offer the parents greater ease of access to economic opportunities in towns and cities. Before partnering with P4P, the VLUFO purchased the bicycles that they distribute. This has proven to be an expensive and, hence, short-lived option. The bicycles provided by P4P are the key to preventing a financial crisis for the Organizations while ensuring that they provide reliable transportation to families in need. The desired result is that the children stay in school and the parents spend more time on job and income generation.

The first shipment of 570 bikes is scheduled for the May 21st 2011 loading that will be bound for Vientnam. The Vinh Long Union of Friendship Organizations (VLUFO) plans to start distribution of P4P bikes in July. Though this will be the farthest location we ship to, Vietnam by far will be the cheapest place P4P has ever shipped bicycles.

 
  COUNTRY FACTS: VIETNAM

  POPULATION: 81 MILLION

  GDP PER CAPITA: $2,300 per year  

  LITERACY RATE: 94%

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