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A bridge to a better tomorrow in Hoang Su Phi, Vietnam

The river that runs through Hoang Su Phi sustains life in a green and fertile valley, but it also posed a safety threat as a route of passage. Though the river is a hazardous commuting obstacle year-round, it is particularly treacherous in the rainy season when the waters rise. At this time, the river becomes impassable for the people of the community.

A man with a black umbrella and a child strapped to his back crosses a rocky stream path.

Passing the river on foot endangered children – particularly students who needed to cross the water daily in order to attend school.

"Travelling was extremely difficult, especially for students who crossed the river to get to school every day,” says Dang Thi Ha, a local resident. “The nearest bridge was 6 kilometers away, adding an hour in each direction for those who must make their way on foot.”

The village long dreamed of preventing barriers and risk by having a local bridge built – a project they couldn’t afford, until now. Through Plan’s sponsorship of the Hoang Su Phi community — a population of roughly 58,000 people living on an average of $0.50 USD per day — the community was able to sustainably improve various aspects of their lives, including education, health, and livelihood.

A woman and a man haul goods on their backs over a rocky path.

Villagers gathered and gladly volunteered their own materials and labour!

Plan addressed this infrastructure project as a key priority by working closely with families to identify and understand their unique needs and wants. Knowing what a difference a bridge would make for families, local residents enthusiastically offered up some of their own materials and labour for the project. Hundreds gathered to tackle the project as a team.

A group of people, predominately dressed in navy blue, stand in a stream (with their backs to the cameras) collecting pebbles.

Working as a team, the villagers collected pebbles from the stream to be used in the construction process.

“Male or female, young or old, everyone was excited and happy to be working very hard,” said Vuong Van Ban, a local project team leader. “People stayed at it even when temperatures dropped and the water got very cold.” At Plan, we know that when local people take charge of their own development, it not only succeeds, but lasts for generations.

A group of community members plow and till the land on the side of a hill, building a bridge.

Motivated to improve the lives of themselves and their neighbours, hundreds offered a helping hand.

“We’ve seen so much improvement because of Plan’s encouragement of community members to do it for themselves,” said Nguyen, one of the community’s planning facilitators. “Their determination, enthusiasm and hard-working spirit make such a difference.” Though the project was completed in just a month, the communal efforts will surely endure – strengthening community bonds and benefiting villagers for the many years to come.

Two girls, one dressed in red and one dressed in black cross a bridge over a stream and at the base of a grassy hill.

This new route means a safe and quick commute for the people of the community!

"My way to school is so much easier,” explained 10-year-old Dang Thi To, one of the 200 students whose future just got brighter, thanks to the new bridge.

“We are so pleased,” said another local resident. “Safety has been increased, children won’t be kept from school, and trading has improved with other villages.”

Thanks to your support, the people of Hoang Su Phi are continuing to improve local living conditions through community-led programs that involve everyone – from children and youth, to parents, teachers and community leaders.

You too can help bridge a gap by aiding in the development of even more communities living in poverty. Your generous contribution will enable a community to construct a promising future for themselves and their children.

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