The rumble of thunder from a distance is a sound familiar to Mrs. Ty and her family. In Vietnam’s Phu Yen district, where they lived for years, it rains up to 250 days a year, with rainfall nearly nonstop from July to October. The damage to their home during these months was always severe, leaving the family in constant distress and discomfort. Their modest house made of bamboo, iron sheets, and coconut leaves barely kept the rain and wind out. They would bear the cold at night, and wake up with their clothes and blankets soaked from the downpour.
Her husband is a fisherman whose most valuable possession is the bike he uses to go to work. His income barely covers their basic necessities, and any money left over would go to home repairs. The family fell upon harder times when he was diagnosed with a spine disease. Mrs. Ty supported the family by binding fishing nets and selling them to other fisherfolk, but it was less money for their everyday needs and even less for repairing weather damage to their home.
It was then that Mrs. Ty heard about East Meets West Foundation’s (EMW) Compassion Homes. Together, they created a co-financing plan for the construction of a new home for the family. After two months of labor and continued support from their community, the Ty family had a new house with enough space for a kitchen, a living room, and separate bedrooms. Best of all, the house was built to protect the family from storms. The roof, concrete wall, and foundation can withstand a force 10 storm which is strong enough to uproot large trees.
Since then, the family’s life has improved significantly. Extra money that in the past would have gone to home repairs was used to buy a motorbike and furnish the kitchen. Their daughter is doing better at school as well, having her own room where she could focus on her studies.
In their village, their belief system is that “If someone has helped us, we will find a way to help others voluntarily”. Grateful for what EMW was able to do for their family, Mr. and Mrs. Ty, along with their neighbors, set up a group to help others repair and strengthen their own homes through Compassion Homes.
At the heart of our programs are strong partnerships with government, private sector, civil society groups, and local communities. We also implement learning and feedback strategies to strengthen our approaches to promoting gender and socially inclusive WASH practices in our partner communities.