Welcome to Vietnam

Country Snapshot

The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is one of the world's four remaining single-party socialist states officially espousing communism. Its economic policies have grown increasingly capitalist.

When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, Vietnam was politically isolated and impoverished. In 1986, the government initiated a series of economic and political reforms. By 2000, it had established diplomatic relations with most nations and its economic growth has been among the highest in the world since then. However, the country still suffers from relatively high levels of income inequality, disparities in healthcare provision, and poor gender equality.  Education is not free, and some poor families may have trouble paying tuition for their children without public or private assistance. However, school enrolment is among the highest in the world.

Since the 1980s, some women from Vietnam have become victims of kidnapping, the bride-buying trade, and human trafficking and prostitution in China.  Other Vietnamese women and usually their children as well, can become stateless persons as a result of failed interracial marriages.            

Good Shepherd founding story

In 1956 the Bishop of Angers, France received a request from the President of Vietnam, forwarded by his brother the bishop of Vinhlong, requesting the help of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd for the rehabilitation of service women in Vietnam.  In 1958 the Good Shepherd Sisters arrived and a home for service women was opened in Vinhlong.  Later this included a residential school for child victims of war. In 1971 a social welfare center for young war widows and refugees girls was opened in Saigon. 

As the war escalated several orphaned children were evacuated to Europe and to the United States for adoption. In April 1975 the Communist Government took over in Vietnam.  In the lead up to this event, a lot of people tried to get out of the country. On 4 April 1975 a flight with many orphans and escorts on board crashed after takeoff from Saigon.  Seventy three children were killed and some escorts also died.  Among them was Sister Ursula Lee a missionary from Malaysia who had been in Vietnam since 1960. 

In 1975 there were 15 young Vietnamese Sisters left in Vietnam.  They went to the United States, India and Ireland to finish their studies.  In 1992 some of the Vietnamese sisters who had now acquired US citizenship returned to Vietnam and the refounding process began.

Good Shepherd today

At present the sisters have development centers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vinhlong in the Delta Area and Camau in the South. 

Projects

  • Charity School for disadvantaged children.

  • Sewing Centers to provide skills training to facilitate employment opportunities.

  • Shelter for Single Mothers - Home for young pregnant women without social support.

  • Parish Work.

  • Youth Camps to teach catechism.

  • Scholarships for students in need.

  • Orchard to teach children the values of sustainability, care for the environment and agricultural skills.