The New Zealand government has donated to Vietnam NZ$2 million (US$1.26 million) to support the Southeast Asian country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid, sourced from New Zealand’s COVID-19 response fund, was announced at a ceremony in Hanoi on Wednesday with the participation of representatives from the New Zealand Embassy, Vietnam’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, UNICEF Vietnam, CARE International, and OXFAM Vietnam, among others.
Addressing the event, New Zealand Ambassador to Vietnam Tredene Dobson said this aid project is a two-fold approach to COVID-19 recovery.
Accordingly, the aid package includes NZ$1 million for medical supplies, delivered via UNICEF Vietnam to areas where the safe and effective response to COVID-19 is needed, and another NZ$1 million for projects focusing on livelihood restoration for disadvantaged communities in Vietnam, including women, children and ethnic minorities, through CARE International in Vietnam and Oxfam in Vietnam.
“By working closely with many trusted partners, this holistic approach will hopefully set a strong course for recovery," the Vietnam News Agency cited Ambassador Dobson as saying. "It is now more important than ever that we work quickly at pace to achieve our collective vision of a strong, prosperous, and resilient Vietnam.”
“There is a well-known Māori proverb 'Naku te rourou nau te rourou ka ora ai te iwi,' which means 'With your food basket, and my food basket, the people will thrive.' In Vietnam, you have a similar expression, 'Lá lành đùm lá rách,'" Ambassador Dobson said on the verified Facebook page of the New Zealand Embassy in Hanoi.
"In this spirit, humanitarian support remains an important part of the strategic partnership between New Zealand and Vietnam."
Over the past two years, the New Zealand Embassy has collaborated with Vietnamese and international partners in carrying out several COVID-19 response projects worth NZ$270,000 in total, assisting more than 3,300 female workers in various sectors and 130 children with disabilities as well as members of the hearing-impaired community in Vietnam, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
Commenting that health systems have experienced terrible disruptions in essential health and other social services worldwide, UNICEF representative in Vietnam Rana Flowers advised that Vietnam invest more in health systems so that children and communities can have a better chance to survive and thrive in the future.
Vu Thi Quynh Hoa, national director of Oxfam in Vietnam, said that Oxfam and partners will provide job skill training and financial assistance for at least 2,300 freelancers such as street vendors, small traders, and lottery ticket sellers in Ho Chi Minh City and its neighbor Binh Duong Province to help them build their livelihood resilience.
The project specifically supports women who are migrant workers and people with disabilities because these are the two groups most affected by the pandemic, Hoa said.
Vietnam has now put COVID-19 under control, but the pandemic’s impacts on the country’s economy and society as well as people’s health need several years to be overcome, said Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Minh Vu.
Vu highly appreciated the fund from New Zealand, saying it is practical support for Vietnam’s efforts to shore up the economy and help vulnerable people hard hit by the pandemic.
The ministry is committed to coordinating with agencies concerned to effectively implement this aid project, the minister stated.