Mekong Plus NGOs

1. Story

Mekong Plus, was founded by Bernard Kervyn and some friends met during past experiences working for NGOs around the globe.
Discussing the pressing needs from the poorest in Vietnam, quickly led them to do something together. In 1994 while in Ho Chi Minh City, they decided to take action and Mekong Plus was born, a French association under law 1901.
Today, over 200,000 people in Vietnam and Cambodia benefit from Mekong Plus programs for:
Education & scholarships
Health & hygiene
Small infrastructures
Employment
Agriculture
Microcredits
Mekong Plus is convinced that the human dimension is an essential part of a community and its evolution, and that the development of poor rural areas of Cambodia and Vietnam will allow for everyone to meet their basic needs and live in dignity, and for communities to fully exercise their solidarity, especially towards the less privileged, through concrete actions.

2. Activities

a. Agriculture

The pilot farms, learn simple techniques for a healthy development

The Agronomists and Veterinarians of Mekong Plus live in the villages and listen to the farmers. The can then propose improvements with superior performance. Mekong Plus has a long-term view and only proposes solutions in harmony with the environment, which are inexpensive and replicable without Mekong Plus.

The best trainers are in fact fellow-farmers, who share with their peers, better than a technician from outside the village! With this in mind Mekong Plus uses the pilot farmers as models and trainers. First we help them to test new techniques, then they teach and advise other villagers. 

b. Education

 

Access to school

Education is very expensive. High schools are often far away, thus transport is then needed, and some students must rent a room. The cost of high school amounts often to around 50 €/month!

The villagers’ rate access to education for all children as their TOP priority. Every year with the schools, we organize the solidarity run: more than 125.000 children, teachers, and parents join! They make small donations, on average a total of close to 38.000 €!

Then, 20 € for primary & lower secondary schools, 40 € was given to high school students.

Another way to help is to give children a bicycle. This is really important if their school is too far to walk to.

School health

Every week all children brush their teeth together on the school playground; children are responsible for the cleanliness of the school toilets… An eyesight examination is organized every two years. Tens of thousands children are covered by the program, their health improves (the monitoring covers ten specific criteria). Since 2008, the program has expanded to cover more than 200.000 children.

Mekong Plus is also working to improve school infrastructure (access to water, latrines clean …).

Open computer training centers and libraries 

IT is part of the curriculum in Vietnam but rural schools rarely have computers for this training. The children learn from the blackboard and take notes …

Mekong Plus provides reconditioned computers. 69 schools have been equipped each with at least 10 computers. At each site, two technicians have been trained in maintenance. Students pay 9 euros for a cycle to cover operating costs, but the poorest are exempt. Each year, over 18,000 children are concerned.

Schools are almost always devoid of a library.

Mekong Plus offers schools to provide books –the school covers half the costs. It’s Duc Linh that the results are most impressive: 27 libraries, 8382 books provided (about 0.4 euro each), each read an average of 3 times a month.

c. Health

 

Health care is sometimes very expensive. Mekong Plus helps the poor for a small part and motivates the community to contribute. If there is an emergency, and for the poor, Mekong Plus covers all costs: for example, when a child is hit by a motorcycle, etc.

For the poor, a minor accident or disease can make the whole family plunge into poverty.

Hoa’s story

Hoa was let down by her husband, so she is alone to take care of the 3 children. She has no land, so she works as a daily laborer. But as she suffers from asthma, so often people do not call on her and prefer to give work to other workers. Hàng is in charge of the Dúc linh project. She took Hoa to a specialist in Saigon : it only cost a dozen Euros. Hoa is now in good health and can work, Hàng has also given her a micro credit to raise pigs.

d. Employment

 

Mekong Quilts values ​​creating objects from materials available locally in the same villages: water hyacinths, bamboo, paper mache, fabric, etc. More than 200 women have very rewarding and remunerative employment, independent of seasons and weather, and of market prices. They do not move to the city or industrial zones, they stay with the children and earn additional income. Hundreds of families are thus moving out of extreme poverty.

e. Microcredit

 

5 to 10% of the villagers live on less than ½ € / person/day.

Mekong Plus manages to get them out of this situation through 4 to 5 years of training, microcredit and close coaching. On average, revenues increase by 25% per year, they double in 4 to 5 years. Unless special circumstances, Mekong Plus stops its support when income exceeds € 1 to 1.5. It continues, however, to ensure a less intense follow-up to prevent a relapse into poverty- which happens in less than 10% of cases.

MORE THAN 7000 HOUSEHOLDS, APPROXIMATELY 35,000 PEOPLE, HAVE BENEFITED FROM THE PROGRAM AND HAVE ESCAPED ACUTE POVERTY. TODAY, ANOTHER 6500 NEW HOUSEHOLDS ARE IN THE PROGRAM.

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