Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam and is home to around five million people. Hanoi’s economy is growing fast, and this attracts many people to move here in search of a better life. The population is growing at a yearly rate of nearly 4%.
Although the city is one of the richest in the country, there is a growing wealth disparity. Life is very harsh for those who continue to live below the poverty line. Families who are most likely struggle economically include those with low levels of education or few skills, those who are ill or have a disability, families with many children, and those who have recently moved to the city and have no permanent residence status.
Since 1989, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Hanoi.
Families living in poverty often build their living quarters in precarious locations, such as on the streets, in slums, or on wasteland. These are unrecognised sites, and so they constantly face the threat of eviction and relocation. In the majority of cases, they have no electricity or clean drinking water.
Only 46% of the population’s poorest have access to basic services. Whereas in urban areas 92% of the total population have access due to major improvements in recent decades, people who have moved to the city are also socially isolated as they do not have a support network, which makes it harder for them to find work or seek help in times of need.
In Vietnam, malnutrition is high and this has led to 1.8 million children being stunted. Many children under the age of two do not receive the food or nutrients they need to grow and develop properly. Undernutrition is particularly widespread among ethnic minority children living in rural mountainous areas, where poverty is proportionally worse than in urban areas.
A UNICEF study found that 1 in 3 children of ethnic minorities suffer from stunting, while 1 in 5 are underweight in Vietnam. At the same time, due to widespread poverty, overweight and obesity among children under five has been increasing every year.