03/14/2008, 00.00
VIETNAM
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Religious groups can contribute to the training of young Vietnamese

Youth support can be particularly important in the countryside. This is the case of the diocese of Vĩnh Long, in southern Viet Nam, where one youth in three is unemployed.

Vĩnh Long (AsiaNews) – In a changing Viet Nam that is developing its economy there are areas like the diocese of Vĩnh Long, an important rice-growing region, where young people are facing great difficulties. The younger generation is unaware of problems associated with a rising population, ignorance and poverty because there are no training facilities capable of guiding and helping them. For this reason religious groups can play an important role in the field.

The diocese, which is located in the country’s south, includes the provinces of Bến Tre, Tra Vinh and Vĩnh Long, in the Mekong Delta. Its population comes just under four million people, including some 184,000 Catholics.

In a randomly selected municipality, we find that out of 3,671 young people between 18 and 35, 1,203 (more than 32 per cent) are unemployed.

“I am worried about getting a job,” said a young man from the Cầu Kè district, Thanh, who spoke to AsiaNews.

“If I don’t have a job I can’t help my family,” he lamented. “I’d like to go to a vocational school but there are very few in the province. Some of my friends completed high school and vocational school but have not found a job locally and so had to go to Hồ Chí Minh City to find one.”

A survey conducted this year on youth employment found that “a third of Cầu Kè’s youth would like to follow vocational courses. Most live with their parents or brothers and sisters. They are worried and suggest that local authorities enact social politicise and adopt a development plan for rural areas.”

“Even though it is a rich rice-producing area, farmers are poor. If a farmer has hectare of land to grow rice he must rely on loans to survive and is forced to sell the crop just to pay off the debt,” this in the second most important rice exporter in the world, the study explained.

“The country’s process of industrialisation and modernisation needs the contribution of every component of society. The role that religious groups can play in the educational and training field is important and necessary,” said an economics professor.

“If the government allows them to take part in training and education, rural youth can benefit and the country will fully develop its human potential.”

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