New Life Page for "Invisible" Children - Vietnam

by Research Center for Management and Sustainable Development (MSD)
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New Life Page for "Invisible" Children - Vietnam
New Life Page for "Invisible" Children - Vietnam
New Life Page for "Invisible" Children - Vietnam
V.T, QM with their grandmother and sister
V.T, QM with their grandmother and sister

At the age of 11, N.V.T was only in 3rd grade, in the same class with his 9-year-old brother N.Q.M at Thien An Charity School. For more than ten years, two children had lived without birth certificates and the whole family has lived in a cramped, damp and dark motel near Kenh Nuoc Den. Their family had many difficulties with busy earning for living and moving shelter a lot, so they haven't just made birth cerrtificates for their children.

Without birth certificates, when two children were sick, their family could only take a little money to buy medicine instead of taking the children to the hospital. Because they had no birth certificats and no health insurances. Besides, after graduating 5th grade, the children will not be able to continue going to school without birth certificates.

In 2020, thanks to the help and introduction of the nuns at the school, their families were met "A new life page" project. After nearly a year, with the efforts of the A New Life Page Project, V.T and Q.M finally got their own birth certificates. The first new life pages are officially opened, which is the opportunity to improve and develop a bright future like the names of the two children.

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N.C.N.A and mom
N.C.N.A and mom

At the age of 5, N.C.N.A. has never been went to school because of not having birth certificate. This was derived from her mother’s story that Mrs. C.T.H.N. does not have birth certificate or any personalidentifications. Her father passed away when she was a child. Her mother remarried, so Mrs. H.N lived with her grandmother. While they migrated many places, her grandmother did not know how to make birth certificate for her. Mrs. H.N only studied at the end of grade 3. When growing up, she was a shopkeeper in a small shop, and could not be married to her husband – N.A’s father legallybecause of not having any personalidentifications.

Mrs. H.N was burst into tears while recounting: "I have no personalidentifications at all, so I were really absorbed the difficulties of a person without a birth certificate and personalidentifications. I wish my daughter to havea better life, but I don't know how to help myself and help my daughter for 6 years."

Thanks to the connection of Ceporer Hoc Mon - a , Mrs. H.N and her daughter reach the project “A new life page”. Project officers and lawyers have researched the real case, carried out procedures such as DNA testing (between N.A and her father) to verify her personality, submit documents, and support Mrs. H.N to make birth certificates and IDcard. By early December 2020, both Mrs. H.N and N.A. have had enough identifications. N.A. have started kindergarten in public schools and go to public primary school at the age of 6.

"I really want to say thanks" – Mrs. H.N shared when received her daughter's birth certificate.

N.A received birth certificate
N.A received birth certificate
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L.T.N.T and her children
L.T.N.T and her children

Mrs.L.T.N.T lives with her husband and 6 kids. 8 people live in a room of 15m2. N.T earns a living by solely selling snack, and her husband is a waiter. While struggling to make a living on a daily basis, the couple has to suffer from a huge loss of income due to the COVID-19 social distancing.

N.T's first 2 kids have attended school, however, the rest has not had birth certificates. In which, M.A (8 years old) and Ng.A (6 years old), due to some birth registration-related problems, they are not able to go to school. M.A obtained his birth certificate since he was born, but as he could not enter into the household registration book and lost the original birth certificate, he cannot apply for admission to public schools. When being asked, "M.A, do you want to go to school?" M.A's eyes immediately light up, he smiled brightly and replied: "Definitely, I want to go to school, I think it would be fun."

When Ng.A turns 6, N.T worries that Ng.A would be like her brother M.A, unable to go to school like many children of her age. The couple went back and forth to find ways for their children to enter first grade. However, due to the vicious cycle of not fully understanding how to apply for the birth certificate and the hectic pace of life, at the time the family reached out to A New Life Page project, it was 1 month late for Ng.A to enroll in first grade.

Lawyers, MSD team, social workers and L.T.N.T’s family have carried out procedures, such as application for reissuance of the original birth certificate at the hospital, confirmation of temporary residency, application for reissuance (for M.A) and issuance (for children Ng.A, T.A, D.A) of birth certificate, etc.

From now on, Ng.A and M.A can officially be recognized by law, and take the very first steps to go to school. L.T.N.T is also somewhat relieved because the two youngest children in the family - T.A and D.A – have birth certificates, and subsequently receive free medical examinations and treatment (According to Decree No.146/2018/ND-CP of Vietnam for children under 6 years old).

The birth certificate is not just a piece of paper, it actually opens up new and bright pages of their life. "I’m really happy. There are not enough words to express my joy and happiness. I’m very delighted to know that the kids are finally able to go to school like many other children", said L.T.N.T.

Ng.A hadn't have birth certificate until 6
Ng.A hadn't have birth certificate until 6
N.T received children's birth certificates
N.T received children's birth certificates
MSD visted N.T's house
MSD visted N.T's house
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N.K.H.N
N.K.H.N

N.K.H.N, a pretty girl with the beautiful eyes and bright smile, turns 6 this year, but for the past 6 years, she has not had her birth registered and possessed an official name. H.N's mother is a Khmer (an ethnic minority in Vietnam). She migrated from Soc Trang to Ho Chi Minh City for a better life 20 years ago, and her personal documents had been lost due to frequent moves. H.N's father is nearly 50 years old now, and his vision is getting blurry and unclear due to corneal inflammation. The main livelihood of the whole family is picking up scraps and bottles on the old tricycle.

Since H.N was born, her parents have been trying to get a birth certificate and an official name for her. Her father has taken the papers to every place that he heard of, with the belief that Muoi (H.N's nickname) would go to school and have a brighter future.

At the end of 2020 - as H.N attended a charity school in the neighborhood (without a birth certificate, she could not attend public schools), under the guidance of nuns, H.N’ parents reached out to A New Life Page project. The dream of having a birth certificate eventually came true.

With the support of the A New Life Page project, local authority and lawyer, H.N officially obtained a birth certificate with her own name. The birth certificate with the official name has opened up a bright future for "Muoi" after 6 years of being invisible. H.N shared her joy: “Later when I grow up, I want to become a lawyer to help children who did not have birth certificates like me to go to school, like aunts and uncles of the A New Life Page project has helped my family.”

 

 

K.N received birth certificate with her parents
K.N received birth certificate with her parents
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Hanoi – On December 24, 2020, the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) and the Genetic Testing Service Joint Stock Company (GENTIS) signed the cooperation agreement for A New Life Page project. According to the agreement, GENTIS awarded MSD a VND150 million support package for 30 genetic tests.

During four months from September to December 2020, the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) and A New Life Page group have implemented a fundraising campaign named “Give a child a new life page”, aiming to raise money to support disadvantaged children in Ho Chi Minh City obtain their own birth certificates, giving them the opportunity to embark their new lives with fundamental human rights.

In addition to the donations from fundraising platforms, the project has also been supported by the Genetic Testing Service Joint Stock Company (GENTIS), one of the leading DNA testing company in Vietnam. On December 24, 2020, memorandum of Understanding between MSD and GENTIS was officially signed. Accordingly, GENTIS is committed to support MSD and the A New Life Page project to conduct 30 genetic tests worth VND 150,000,000 in birth registration procedures for disadvantaged children.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh, Director of MSD, shared: “We are really happy and touched by GENTIS’s support. On behalf of the children and families receiving support from our project, we would like to thank GENTIS board of management and staff for accompanying MSD on the journey to promote the right to birth registration for disadvantaged children. GENTIS, as a prestigious company, is our first option to conduct DNA tests for the A New Life Page project. More companionship and help, more children will get the birth certificates and stand the chance to have a better life. We are eager to work with GENTIS and other stakeholders to take the children to a new life - a life of a true citizen who has the right to survive, to be safe, to belong, to be heard, to receive adequate care and to grow up in a protective environment.”

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, Head of Genetic Testing Center, GENTIS, said: “Since GENTIS establishment, we have always put high emphasis on corporate social responsibility and accompanied with community-based programs. Being aware of the positive impact and meaning of A New Life Page project, GENTIS is willing to join hands with MSD in issuing birth certificates for disadvantaged children. We guarantee the accuracy of the tests and accompany the A New Life Page in supporting children and families in need.”

Hopefully, with the support of GENTIS and other stakeholders, several children will be given "new life pages".


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Project Leader:
MSD Vietnam
Hanoi, Hanoi Vietnam
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