Ca Mau is situated in the very south of Vietnam in the Mekong River Delta. The population of the city is estimated to be around 110,000.
The Khmer, the biggest ethnic minority group in Vietnam, reside in this region. Like other minority groups across the country, they experience disadvantages and exclusion in public affairs and services. These communities are the first to feel the economic effects of climate change on their food supply, housing, and job security.
Since 1996, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Ca Mau.
People in the fertile Mekong River Delta area (where Ca Mau is located) have traditionally lived off agriculture and rice farming, but increasingly economic activity revolves around fishing and acquafarming. Some groups, such as the Khmer ethnic minority and women, have been disadvantaged by this change in production.
There are some concerns about the long-term sustainability of this type of aquafarming, and how the loss of such income would affect the local population. In 2021, fishermen were reporting a 70% decrease in fish catch than previous years. On land, saltwater from rising sea levels poisons freshwater for farming rice, vegetables and fruit.
People living in the Mekong River Delta (where Ca Mau is located) are economically weaker than in the rest of the country. In 2020, the average Vietnamese person earned 10% more than people living in the Delta, and residents in Ca Mau had the lowest monthly income among the region.
When taking into account other factors such as access to sanitation, education and housing, the Mekong Delta has one of the highest child poverty rates in the country. Many children are forced to leave school and contribute to the household income.