Vietnam is currently focusing on a number of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including Sustainable Poverty Reduction. Bright Solutions is focusing particularly on No Poverty; Gender Equality; Decent Work and Reduced Inequalities, as well as Women's Economic Empowerment, for which the Australian Government has a proactive role.
All this means that Vietnam is developing a more comprehensive, multidimensional outlook towards poverty reduction, recognising that underprivileged people not only need income, but access to the necessities of life such as healthcare, education, employment, improved living conditions and information. According to the city’s Sustainable Poverty Steering Board, poor households need help developing their finances, and the best way to achieve this is to provide vocational training.
Praise God that Bright Solutions already has a presence and history here, in exactly these strategic areas. We are already active in addressing some of these SDGs. Bright Solutions Vietnam assists marginalised women to learn sewing and handcraft skills, and journeys with them through programs that continually increase their skills and expertise. Women’s living conditions have improved due to stable income and savings, house repairs, purchasing a washing machine, and payment for children’s school fees. Women are able to take out loans because of Bright Solutions’ backing and work consistency. Women have easier access to healthcare; most can now buy health insurance. They all have mobile phones (not a surprise), but some have been learning how to use and access information on smartphones – they’ve become more aware of the international world, thus gaining self-confidence. Our vocational training gives them employable skills, with some women involved in Excel training and English communication and, more strategically, all are involved in our Empowerment Program that focuses on professional soft skills (personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people).
We focus on teams. The joy of our team environment is seeing relationships grow and mature. Living out acts of kindness and compassion are tiny moments of joy when we see ladies share breakfast with someone less well off. Moving to new work premises in 2018 brought renewed struggles in this, as the women had to adjust to an open plan workspace. Learning tolerance is a daily issue through which we highlight forgiveness and acceptance. With God’s grace, we’ve started 2019 with a far better community attitude.
Many of the women delight in sharing firsthand what we do when people visit. Through the support and encouragement of GMP, they get a new understanding that a world of believers from different cultures care for them. They appreciate that people have an interest in supporting their land and its people, showing them they are not alone. Generosity in hospitality is very important to them. When foreigners try what they offer, and accept their hospitality, it speaks volumes in breaking down barriers. During these visits, the women are also reminded that people are praying for them and financially supporting Bright Solutions. God is at work in and through those connections.
Bright Solutions is gaining recognition, more so amongst INGOs and the international community through media, international markets and referrals. Despite the continued need to expand and share, our nine-year presence is seeing organisations reconnecting with us from several years ago. Bright Solutions’ ultimate goal is to pass to local ownership. Please pray for discernment in finding the right people.
Bright Solutions is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).