Tánh Linh has a total area of 117,422 ha and is situated in Bình Thuận province 150km north of Ho Chi Minh City bordering with Dong Nai province and in between Đức Linh and Hàm Thuân Nam districts. The inhabitants are mostly economic immigrants coming from poorer regions of Vietnam. Ethnic minority groups including Tay, Thai, Muong, Nung,Gia rai, E de, K’ho, Cham, Chơ Ro, Dao, Raglai, Xtieng represent approx 13.5% of the population in Tánh Linh. Two decades ago, the area was a rainforest and thinly populated; but today the population amounts to approximately 105,408 people (2014 local government figures). The 2014 average income in this district of 1,602,000 VND (US$ 77) is well below the national average of 3.8M VND (US$183) per month.
The main resources of this region are: rice, fruit trees, livestock. The reasons for poverty are many: lack of capital, shortage of land for some, archaic techniques, remoteness from the main markets, high inflation rate etc. Many local people rely on farming activities but have recently experienced high losses due to unusual weather changes. Loans from banks or moneylenders are readily available, however the high rates of interest (up to 10% per month) prohibit their affordability. Tanh Linh project site is currently providing 1,034 poor households (March, 2017) with micro loans and other services in all 14 communes in Tánh Linh.
NUMBER OF IDENTIFIED PEOPLE LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE
4.87 % of the population
AVERAGE MONTHLY INCOME PER PERSON OF HOUSEHOLDS LIVING IN POVERTY
350.000 VND (15.9 US$ or 14.5 EUR)/person/month
The impact of this poverty on health care and education is disastrous. Only 1.5% of the population has access to running water and only 35% of households families have a latrine. Water is polluted and the hygiene standard is notoriously insufficient. People are exposed to malaria or dengue fever. Approx. 25% of children do not complete secondary school and although the population is keen for all children to be educated, the high level of poverty is a major obstacle to realising their dreams. Implementation of health awareness programs by Thien Chi staff have successfully and significantly reduced the rate of worm infestation from 90% to just 16% over the past 3 years.
Thien Chi has established a unique partnership with The People's Committee and the Women's Union who are both competent and motivated to implement change for the better. This relationship is a key factor in implementing successful projects in Vietnam.