Who Are the Forgotten People?
Vietnam is a relatively small, developing Southeast Asian country that is home to over 83 million people. An estimated 197,000 individuals will be living with HIV in Vietnam by the end of this year1. About 22,000 Vietnamese people are known to have leprosy2.
According to the Sustainable Development Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, it is estimated that as of 1997 there were over 4 million disabled people in Vietnam3. Many of these individuals do not receive any sort of treatment or assistance of any kind. Due to their illnesses and low social status, these individuals are societal outcasts. We call these people the “Forgotten People” because they have been forgotten by their government, society and families, and there is little being done to assist them at this time.
Vietnam is a developing nation in Southeast Asia that has a land area slightly larger than the state of New Mexico, but has a population over 83 million. The climate is tropical and the terrain ranges from low and flat along the northern and southern deltas, to mountainous in the far north and northwest. Vietnam is a relatively poor country with a gross domestic product per capita of $2,700. Part of this is due to the fact that the country has been ravaged by war and political upheaval for the last several decades.
Our target population is the Forgotten People of Vietnam. They live in rural areas throughout the country and suffer from various afflictions such as disabilities, deformities, HIV/AIDS, leprosy, and other infectious diseases. They represent multiple age groups from the elderly to small children. They all have minimal socioeconomic status and are not part of mainstream society. The Forgotten People Foundation has seen a need in the communities of rural Vietnam and has chosen to develop multiple interventions to help the situation.
1 United Nations programme on HIV/AIDS, 2003
2 Canadian International Development Agency, 2005
3 Hai, 1997