About 150 people living with HIV have been able to start-up small businesses thanks to a micro-finance pilot project supported by the US Agency for International Development.
Beneficiaries of the small loans, located in Ha Noi and HCM City as well as Thai Nguyen and Nghe An provinces, received support in mid-2011. Funds under the project totalled nearly VND2 billion (US$97,560) in loans from the Viet Nam Bank for Social Policies (VBSP) and the TYM Fund under the Viet Nam Women's Union.
As of May this year, most of the borrowers had already repaid their loans, proving that the lending model was effective in assisting HIV carriers and those at risk to integrate into society, said experts at a meeting to review the pilot project yesterday, June 14.
"We now have an opportunity to increase access to micro-credit for all qualified individuals and to help eliminate the stigma and discrimination when loan making decisions are made," said Jonathan Ross, director of USAID Viet Nam's Office of Health.
Nancy Natilson, a micro-finance consultant with Chemonics International, said that similar micro-finance models have helped HIV carriers and at-risk groups in many countries escaping from poverty and discrimination, such as in Haiti, Kenya and Cambodia.
The pilot project in Viet Nam has also improved borrowers' lives and made them become more economically independent, thus gaining trust from family and community members, she said.
Tran Van Lanh, one of the recipients of the project in HCM City, was able to start his own cleaning service after borrowing VND20 million (nearly $1,000).
However, for similar models to be replicated in Viet Nam, Natilson said there's a need for more co-ordinated efforts among micro-finance institutions and AIDS support organisations, in addition to further support from the Government.
About $1 million was also pledged by various partners at yesterday's meeting, and these funds are earmarked for new loans through the TYM Fund for the 2011-15 period. VN joins in int'l gifts, stationery fair in Malaysia
The Vietnamese embassy in Malaysia are taking part in the 4th International Gifts, Premium & Stationery 2012 Fair (KLIGP 2012) in Malaysia's capital city of Kuala Lumpur from June 13-15.
| Vietnam's stand at the fair. (Photo: Vietnam+) |
The fair, organised by the Malaysian Gifts and Premium Entrepreneur Association (MGPA), attracted more than 300 businesses from Malaysia , Singapore , Thailand , Indonesia , Brunei , the Philippines , Cambodia , Hong Kong , Taiwan , Republic of Korea and Vietnam , showcasing a wide range of products.
Vietnam's pavilion with diversified and skillful art and handicraft products draw many entrepreneurs and visitors.
Vietnamese Commercial Counsellor Vu Van Canh said that the Embassy of Vietnam joined this fair because the country has strong potential of art and handicrafts.
He expressed hope that through KLIGP 2012, Vietnamese products will be introduced to Malaysian customers as well as international friends, thus promoting the export of these products.
According to Vu Van Canh, bilateral trade between Vietnam and Malaysia has increased annually by an average 20 percent in recent years. In 2011, two-way trade reached 6.66 billion USD, in which Vietnam’s export turnover to Malaysia achieved 2.76 billion USD. Three tonnes of rotten pork seized in capital
The Ha Noi Market Watch Department on Wednesday seized 3 tonnes of rotten pork meat at a slaughterhouse in Chuong My District's Dong Son Commune.
The department inspected the slaughterhouse, owned by Nguyen Ba Trong, after stopping a car in which they found more than 450 kg of stale meat being transported to the city for consumption purposes.
The car's driver said that he was hired by Trong's slaughterhouse.
A large amount of pork without legal origin was also found at Long Binh Food Processing Factory in Hai Ba Trung District, which often bought meat from Trong. Police charge six men with stealing goods
Southern Binh Duong Province's Thuan An Town Police have prosecuted six suspects for allegedly stealing goods worth about VND20 billion US$952,000) from container trucks.
In mid-May, police nabbed the suspects for stealing 90 polyester barrels worth over VND225 million ($10,700) from containers of Thanh Cong Garment and Textile Trading Jsc transported from southern Tay Ninh to HCM City's Cat Lai Port.
Driver Do Thanh Hieu and his assistant Le Van Dung colluded with four other men to steal the goods. Investigations revealed that the group has been involved in over 20 crimes. Open-cast coal mine waste dumps at risk
The Viet Nam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group will set a budget for handling open-cast coal mine waste dumps at high risk of landslides and pollution in northern Quang Ninh Province.
At the request of Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, the province will co-ordinate with the group to deal with environmental pollution caused by coal production and invest in Ha Long Bay's environmental protection.
Prolonged heavy rain in the province on May 25 caused serious landslides near waste dumps. Many houses nearby are still at risk of collapsing. Vietnamese student wins Japanese medicine scholarship
Luu Hong Ngoc, an 18-year-old Vietnamese student has been granted a scholarship to study medicine in Japan to help the country’s northeastern prefecture of Iwate address its serious shortage of fully trained doctors.
The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare said that Luu Hong Ngoc is the first overseas student to be awarded a scholarship to study medicine from a Japanese local government.
She is due to go to Japan this autumn after graduating in Vietnam.
Subsequently, after two years learning Japanese in Japan , she will enroll in a Medical college.
The head of the town of Ichinohe, Akira Inaba, said that after her training, Ngoc will be expected to work in the town for the next ten years.
Ichinohe has a population of 14,000 but has only 4 doctors in private practiceand one hospital. The severe lack of doctors has forced the hospital in Iwate to stop administering certain treatments. Diesel-electric buses to run on street soon
Vietnam will soon get new diesel-electric hybrid buses following the signing of an agreement in Hanoi on June 13 between Siemens Vietnam and the Vietnam Motors Industry Corporation or Vinamotor.
"Siemens's state-of-the-art and environment friendly technology will help improve the quality of our buses as well as help us manufacture buses that are safe, environmentally friendly, energy efficient and clean," Vinamotor chairman Do Nga Viet said at the signing ceremony.
A prototype of the new bus will be built this year with Siemens supplying all the necessary components and technical support and Vinamotor building the body and certain parts.
It is expected to enable city public buses to reduce fuel consumption by up to 50 percent, significantly saving costs.
It will also reduce the impact on the environment through lower exhaust emission.
The technology, called ELFA, is a diesel-electric hybrid concept that combines mobile power supply modules such as diesel generator sets and energy-storage devices. These allow the energy produced during braking to be stored.
In conventional city buses, braking energy is converted into heat and lost.
ELFA technology allows this to be converted into electrical energy and fed into energy storage devices like high-performance capacitors and batteries. The stored energy is reused during start and acceleration.
Depending on the storage capacity of the system the bus can also be driven purely electrically, meaning without emissions, especially in inner city areas. VNA funds new house for Agent Orange victim
The Vietnam News Agency (VNA) and the Association of Agent Orange Victims in central Ninh Thuan province have funded the building of a house for the family of Barau Thi Tieu of the Raglai ethnic minority group.
Tieu made a substantial contribution to Vietnam’s revolution and her son suffers badly from the effects of the dioxin. The key to the new home in Gio village, Ma Noi commune, Ninh Son district, was handed over to the family on June 13.
The VNA donated the 30 million VND needed to build the house.
Over the years, the VNA’s Fund for Agent Orange Victims has been providing assistance to the victims in Ninh Thuan. VNN/VOV/VNS/Tuoi Tre