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Vietnam stretches from the Red River delta in the north down along a thin, mountainous strip of coast along the South China Sea to the Mekong River delta in the south. Historically, Vietnam has been directly influenced by China more than other areas of Southeast Asia, but today has pushed past French colonial rule and the Vietnam War to establish a unified, independent state in 1975. From 1986 onward, the communist Vietnamese government shifted economic policy toward open markets, resulting in increased economic growth and foreign investment and a reduction in hunger and poverty. Since 2009 the global economic downturn brought inflation and unemployment to Vietnam, and in recent years a number of tropical storms have caused considerable damage through high winds and flooding.
Mennonite Central Committee’s involvement in Vietnam began in 1954, sending relief supplies to people displaced by Vietnam’s war of independence from France followed by many changing areas of programming for over 50 years. This work included efforts to deliver relief to Vietnamese people suffering from the consequences of the Vietnam War no matter which side of the ever-changing territorial lines they lived on.
Today, MCC Vietnam supports partners’ projects on reconciliation, micro credit, water gathering, agricultural technology, child nutrition, and other areas. MCC Vietnam also works closely with Vietnamese NGOs to promote domestic violence awareness and gender equality, and gives aid for rebuilding after typhoons and among people still living with the consequences of the United States’ massive dump of toxic herbicide known as “Agent Orange” during the Vietnam War.