Life is not easy for the families at Binh Sa. Although optimistic and hardworking people, many households live in poverty, earning only 200,000 VND or $10 USD monthly. With little money for daily expenses, most of the families’ houses are a patchwork of scrap materials sourced from their surroundings. These homes hold little against annual natural disasters like typhoons and floods that threaten their community.
Huynh Tan Dat’s family dwells in this little commune. The ninth grader lives with his mother and grandmother. Due to his mother’s mental illness, the struggle of making ends meet falls upon his 80 year-old grandmother. While Dat is at school, she works long hours under the heat of the sun, tilling their small rice field to support their basic needs.
For 11 years, they lived in a small but well-kept brick home that has seen better days. The walls were flimsy, and they had no electricity and indoor bathroom. The low-hanging corrugated iron roof would make the heat unbearable during the summer. In the rainy season, they worried about flooding or their roof being blown away by strong winds, which has happened more than once. The local government does provide roof sheets for repairs, but the home’s overall structure remained weak. More than anything, Dat wished his family could feel safe at home.
He was filled with hope when Thrive Networks brought in Compassion Homes. The program helps families build climate-resilient homes with elevated foundations and enhanced draining to prevent flooding, as well as improved ventilation. Each Compassion Home has brick walls, cement floors, tile roofs, windows and doors with wooden frames and steel sheets, and an electrical system. The program’s selection criterion rates families based on the number of people in the household, income, and immediate needs. Having both an ill mother and an aging grandmother, Dat’s family qualified for the program.
With their new home, Dat and his family are now able to save money that would otherwise go to repairs. They have extra income for food, Dat’s school supplies, and better farming tools that make work for his grandmother easier. Thrive also provided a new dining table and chairs, a gas stove, and a study desk for Dat. With a secure home, he can now focus better on school and taking care of his mother and grandmother. Enjoying the comfort of a climate-resilient Compassion Home gives him more motivation to study hard and create a better life for all of them.