Even before gaining independence from French colonial rule in 1957, Vietnam was a divided country. The Geneva Accords of 1954 created a northern communist territory and a southern anti-communist territory. Tensions, which have simmered ever since, boiled over in 1975 when the communist north took over the south.
Vietnam's economy has grown very fast with liberalisation policies, and a free market economy. However, basic medical, agricultural and educational products are not accessible to Vietnam's majority poor population. Adult literacy is very low, and the average life expectancy is only 44 years. 1 in 9 children will die before their fifth birthday, and many people do not have access to clean drinking water.
The people of Vietnam are in great need of the life-changing hope that child sponsorship can bring to their families and communities. You can sponsor a child in Vietnam  through ActionAid, one of the world's leading relief and development agencies. They have developed a child sponsorship scheme which links people in more affluent countries with individual children in developing countries around the world.
In conjunction with partner organisations, ActionAid has worked with communities in Vietnam since 1989 to improve access to basic sanitation, health and education facilities. It has invested in the training of health workers and the provision of health services. It also invests in the improvement of education facilities, and it has championed the need for poor people to know their rights, and to come together to fight for them.
It works to mobilise public support for sustainable development, and in conjunction partner organisations, lobbies government on behalf of Vietnam's poorest. ActionAid supports micro-finance companies that make small loans and credit available to business start-ups. At times of natural disaster ActionAid has been on hand to provide emergency relief.
In the 37 years since its inception, ActionAid has reached many millions people in Africa, Asia and the Americas, and it has developed a wealth of expertise in fighting poverty. The charity partners with local organisations and recognises the need to work with communities on their own terms, and not impose solutions. By getting to know the culture intimately ActionAid workers have the best possible opportunity to affect a lasting end to poverty.
Sponsoring a child in Vietnam  today will cost you only 50 pence per day. Your money will also go towards development efforts in the town in which the child you sponsor lives. This will ensure the most efficient and effective use of your money.
As a child sponsor you will be able arrange a personal visit with your child and to communicate with them. You can also look forward to receiving special letters and drawings, including a new photograph every two years. Additionally, you get to see where and how your money is being spent by keeping in touch with your child's local ActionAid office, and through regular editions of Common Cause, ActionAid's newsletter.
You may also like to consider sponsoring a child through the following trusted agencies: