Đức Linh is a highland district of Bình Thuận province located 150 km north of Ho Chi Minh City and borders Dong Nai province to the south. It has a total land area of 53,491 ha and a population of 130,766 (2014 Government Survey) living in 83 villages in 13 communes of the district. 
 
Residents are mostly immigrants from the poorest regions of Viet Nam. Besides Kinh group, Đức Linh also has 13 different ethnic minorities scattered in the whole district including K'Ho, Chau Ro, Tay, Nung, Muong, Hoa. The 2014 average income of 1,500,000VND (US$72.10) in this district is well below the national average of 3.8M VND (US$183) per month. Duc Linh project site currently providing 1,226 poor households (March, 2017) with micro loans and other services in 11 communes in the Đức Linh.
 
Its main resources include rice, fruit trees, livestock, and fishing for people living near La Nga River. The causes of poverty are many: lack of capital, lack of available cultivated land, very old and backward agricultural techniques, and the remoteness from urban areas.
 
POVERTY
Number of people below the poverty line
11,390
% of the population
8,71
Number of households
2,773
Average income of people below the poverty line

330,000 VND (US$15 or 13.5EUR)

 

The high level of poverty has a negative influence on the health and education in these communes. Households do not have access to running water and only 36.9% of families have toilet facilities. Water is contaminated and the sanitation standard is very poor. An initial survey indicated that 90% of the population was infected by helminths (parasitic worms) but following an eradication and education program implemented by Thien Chi and the district Health Department, the rate of infection has now significantly reduced to 16%. Other successful initiatives have resulted in a major reduction in the number of malaria and dengue fever cases.

Approx. 25% of children give up their rights to a higher education even though their parents are very enthusiastic for them to continue. Families often cannot afford the school resources, or the children are required to work to help supplement the monthly income.

Thien Chi has been working in Đức Linh for many years and has established excellent working partnerships with the local People's Committee, Women's Union, Health and Education authorities. As a result, programs implemented by Thien Chi here are well regarded and officially recognized by local communities and relevant authorities.