Mrs. Tuyen and Mr. Chien's Story

Overcoming Hardship as a Community

 

intergenerational self help club supports livelihoods and provides care to older people

 

Established in March 2016, the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) in Thon Ba village, Thuong Xuan district has helped expand social services and local community support. The club is driven by a management board and its members, local villagers, who meet once a month to decide who in the community needs help and what kind of support should be provided. They provide in-kind and cash assistance to neighbors as well as farm labor. Dubbed “labor days,” club members come together to work as farm hands, assisting a neighbor with planting or harvesting crops. Mrs. Dao Thi Tuyen 54 years old, and Mr. Le Dinh Chien 53, were two members who received farm labor assistance.

 

Mrs. Tuyen lives with her husband and eighth grade daughter; Mr. Chien lives with his wife. His children moved far away looking for work. They both have 1,800 square meters of land for growing peanuts.

 

“I grew a lot of peanuts, but my house does not have many hands to help with the crops. My husband and I tried to harvest quickly then dried the peanut. We still have to separate the peanuts from the trees, and the two of us cannot finish the heavy work. It was fortunate that the ISHC proposed to help us.” - Mrs. Tuyen.

 

All the members of the Thon Ba ISHC agreed to divide into 2 groups of 12 people. One group went to Mrs. Tuyen’s and the other went to Mr. Chien’s for the day. Although it was raining slightly on that day, all the members showed up to help. Even those who weren’t on the volunteer list also came.

 

“We are so happy to meet and to help each other. Today I help other members; in the future they will help me. The work is not hard at all since we have a lot of helping hands.” – club member

 

Through organized farming assistance, local community members who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods are able to make ends meet. Older people in particular face difficulties managing the labor demands of farming as many of their children often have to leave to find work in the cities. Together, the community is able to take action and ensure everyone is supported.

 

“Since the ISHC was established in the village, these supporting activities are often provided to those who are in difficult situations. Everyone feels happy, helpful, and there is a greater sense of community.” - Le Quang Tap – chairman of the Thon Ba ISHC.