|New Zealand Consul General and Trade Commissioner Scott James and children at the Maison Chance charity. — Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Embassy in Việt Nam|
HCM CITY — Ten of New Zealand’s top fruit and dairy product exporters to Việt Nam have donated over 350 cartons (weighing seven tonnes) of fruit and 1,000 litres of milk to several children’s and women’s charities in HCM City and Hà Nội in July.
Despite some improvements, child nutrition remains a major challenge in Việt Nam, where chronic malnutrition is a key concern among vulnerable children.
The donations were made to Operation Smile in HCM City which provides free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries born with cleft lip, cleft palate, or other facial deformities; the NGO VinaCapital Foundation which focused on supporting underserved and marginalised children; Hà Nội-based NGO Blue Dragon that rescues children and women from sex trafficking, forced labour, and slavery and providing shelter, education, and employment; and Maison Chance, which is a charity providing accommodation, medical care, education and vocational training to disabled people, orphans and children in Việt Nam from challenging backgrounds.
"I am delighted to see how an initiative to aid the Vietnamese people during the COVID-19 pandemic has evolved into an annual programme that benefits local communities, particularly those who are underprivileged,” New Zealand Ambassador to Việt Nam Tredene Dobson said.
“The New Zealand embassy is pleased to continue assisting the New Zealand’s leading fruit and dairy exporters, who generously provide nutritious and fresh products to support vulnerable children and women in Việt Nam. This small yet impactful gesture demonstrates our genuine concern and commitment to improving the well-being of the Vietnamese people."
New Zealand Consul General and Trade Commissioner Scott James says that this is a great initiative. “Over the last three years this programme has provided an opportunity for New Zealand companies to share their exceptional produce with under-served communities here in Việt Nam.
“It’s a tangible and heartening demonstration of New Zealand exporters deepening their engagement and relationships with the Vietnamese community and coming together to make a difference.”
|Children under the care of the Maison Chance charity enjoying their new fruit gifts. — Photo courtesy of the New Zealand Embassy in Việt Nam|
This is the third consecutive year that New Zealand fruit businesses have donated New Zealand fruit in Việt Nam. The programme has expanded each year since its inception in 2021, when five New Zealand companies donated New Zealand apples and kiwi fruit to eight Vietnamese hospitals, staff and patients during the COVID-19 lockdown in HCM City, in conjunction with the ‘Be Strong Vietnam Campaign’ launched by Sống Foundation and the New Zealand Embassy in Hà Nội.
The following year in 2022, seven New Zealand fruit exporters donated 10,000kg of fruit to five children’s and women’s charities in Hà Nội and HCM City.
Meanwhile, this year marks the first time New Zealand’s leading dairy producers have joined the campaign, adding milk to the donations of fresh fruit.
This year’s donations are made by Bostock Group, Fonterra, Fresh Fruit Company of New Zealand (Freshco), Golden Bay Fruit, Heartland Fruit, Kiwi Crunch, Meadowfresh, Mr Apple, T&G Global, and Zespri International. — VNS