Recycled Eyeglasses for Ethnic Minorities

Vietnam’s countryside is stunning and life is harsh. Ethnic minorities eke out a living as smallhold farmers, growing rice and corn. Handicrafts sold to tourists bring in important additional income. Sapa, with its terraced fields and colourfully attired Red Dao and Hmong peoples, is a Mecca for tourists. This is where the idea for Vision Vietnam blossomed.

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To Sink or Swim in the Mekong Delta: Laos’ Hydropower Plans for the ASEAN EC

The Association of South East Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was formed in 1967 and since then has expanded membership and developed various frameworks aimed at increasing regional integration and development. One of the most recently developed is the ASEAN Economic Community, an economic block with a common market akin to the European Community set to take formation in 2015. For smaller member states like Laos, this could mean big development and the Laoation government is taking note. Focusing on sustainable growth for its heavily marginalized population, Laos is putting renewable energy at the forefront of its economic plan.

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360° Approach to Disability Support in Vietnam

Despite representing up to 15 percent of Vietnam’s population, people with disabilities face severe barriers to inclusion and lack access to adequate support. But now, thanks to the Lifestart Foundation’s holistic three-pronged approach to disability support, this community is gaining access to the skills and tools they need to achieve self-sufficiency.

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Daily Special at Vietnam’s Koto Restaurants: Hope for Street Kids

  Tucked behind Hanoi’s ancient Temple of Literature, a top draw for tourists, KOTO Restaurant offers respite for sore feet and grumbling tummies. The menu of Asian-meets-Euro dishes includes nem (spring rolls), beef baked in bamboo, delicious salads, sandwiches and baked goods. It’s welcome fare for visitors and is spiked with a secret ingredient: Hope. KOTO is a wildly successful training …

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HERhealth Project: Improving Female Factory Workers’ Health Care

A young woman moves from her village and takes a factory job in the big city to support her family. After working long hours, she returns exhausted to her crowded dorm room. She doesn’t always sleep well, good nutrition is sometimes difficult and she falls ill often. Such is the plight of millions of female factory workers in developing nations.

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Empowerment through Reading, Writing and Critical Thinking

Reading and writing open doors of opportunity and provide a path to well-being–from securing a stable livelihood to maintaining a safe, secure home, to being able to understand human rights. The World University Services of Canada works with marginalized groups in Vietnam to increase literacy and promote strong education programs.

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Cabbages and Condoms: Taking on Taboo Health Topics in a Fun and Delicious Way

You’ll get a full belly of delicious food at the Cabbages and Condoms restaurant in Bangkok, but never fear, all the items on the menu are “guaranteed not to cause pregnancy.” Conceived by ex-politician and philanthropist Mechai Viravaidya as a way to raise funds while tackling the culturally taboo topic of HIV/AIDS and sexual reproductive health, the restaurant opened its doors more than 10 years ago has become a must-see destination for tourists.

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Disadvantaged Youth Hone Hospitality Skills at Hanoi’s Hoa Sua

Tucked into a tiny side street in the Truc Bach neighbourhood of Hanoi is a stately house that has been transformed into elegant restaurant. White linen covers the tables and menu choices are a fusion of French and Asian. Is this a high-end celebrity chef’s signature locale? Not exactly. It is Song Thu Restaurant, a learning restaurant run by Hoa Sua where disadvantaged youth whip up delicious meals and serve them to customers, often tour groups visiting Vietnam.

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