Contributing to family’s income is part of life in Vietnam. Once children have grown up, they send money back home to support their parents and grandparents. This is what Vi (pictured, left), a student, explained to us when she shared her experiences of moving from a poor village in northern Thanh Hoa to a big city, Ho Chi Minh, in search of a healthy wage.
Vi worked for a textile company there and earned 3,000,000 dong (US$150) a month. While it was enough to cover her costs, she could only send 1,000,000 dong (US$50) home every 5 months.
Finding it difficult to make ends meet and keen to be close to her family again, Vi moved back to her hometown in December 2011 and she now wants to find a job locally.
“I want to find a stable job with good income so that I can afford a comfortable life and at the same time be able to send some money back home to support my parents,” she said.
With opportunities for good jobs few and far between in Thanh Hoa, Vi is hoping to reap the rewards of taking part in a programme run by REACH, a local organisation born out of Plan Vietnam business school project in 2004. REACH equips marginalised youths with practical skills they can then take to find jobs in places like bars, restaurants, hotels and beauty salons.
Huy, 29, is another Thanh Hoa native who also tried his luck in Ho Chi Minh City, but found it pretty tough going. After travelling to Hanoi, Huy heard about Plan’s Livelihood Advancement Business School, the project REACH took on after it became independent, and he went to training sessions and then landed himself an internship at Big C supermarket in Hanoi. Just 6 years later and he was promoted to delivery manager, earning enough money to support himself and his family.
For Vi, Huy is an inpsiration, a role model and proof that young people can make something of their lives, no matter where they are from.
Development and urban migration are closely linked. Between 2000 and 2009, cities in Vietnam became home to 7,300,000 new people. Internal migration in Vietnam is the main contributor to population growth in urban areas. People either migrate to the main city of their province or move to the biggest cities in Vietnam and industrial zones.
The people moving to the cities are young — 72% of migrants to Hanoi are 15 to 39. They go to cities hoping to find good jobs so they can send money back home. But the reality of life in urban areas rarely lives up to expectations. Urban migrants face many challenges, like with getting household registration to access government services and protection in their employment. Many of them face urban poverty.