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American NGO supports kids with HIV, caregivers in Vietnam

The Worldwide Orphans Foundation, a US-based NGO, has wrapped up a three-year project to support vulnerable children in Vietnam, focusing on kids with HIV and their caregivers.

However, speaking at a conference in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday, WWO's Programs Director Mark Beukema, said the organization "will continue to provide support to orphans and vulnerable children in the community."

The project supported more than 1,000 children affected by HIV in Ho Chi Minh City and An Giang through direct services and counseling.

More than 250 caregivers from eight self-help groups also received counseling and training on life skills and child care. More than 80 student volunteers joined programs to help kids play guided games.

Several caregivers said they themselves used to be shy and did not know how to cope with some situations, but now feel very confident.

The project provided library activities and training for children in life skills like communication, coping skills, nutrition, teamwork, and HIV, sex and gender knowledge.

Many of them said there was a lot of improvement in their lives. They had not known much about social relationships or living in a family, but are now better and want to be with the project longer.

WWO collaborated with local and international experts to develop curriculum modules for universities and agencies in social work involving vulnerable children.

The work of supporting the kids will now be managed by local social affairs departments with WWO's assistance.

In Ho Chi Minh City, for example, the Department of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs aims to help some 800 kids by 2015.