Projects & News

The Mekong river delta is home to millions of Vietnamese. Many of these people rely on the extensive network of rivers and canals for transportation. Due to the recent fast economic development, most of the boats that crisscross the delta are motorised. The waves created by these boats relentlessly pound the river banks, causing enormous soil erosion.


Cause of soil erosion: motororised boats of various types and sizes

It is estimated that hundreds of hectares of cultivable land and thousands of kilometers of dikes are lost annually. However there has been no cost-effective mean to control the erosion.

Result of erosion: loss of land …

and structure

A temporary measure to prevent erosion


costly repair to structure

Vetiver Grass Technology
Vetiver Grass (Vetiveria Zizanioid) was first used for soil and water conservation in India in the 1980s. It has since been used successfully to stabilise land and to control soil erosion for mine tailing, highway embankments, dam banks, etc. in Australia and many other countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, China, etc. The grass was first introduced into Vietnam in the late 1990s by Dr Paul Trương, a specialist working at the Queensland Department of Natural Resources, Brisbane, Australia

Two-month old grass *


Various Uses of Vetiver Grass *


Extensive root system of Vetiver Grass *

Vetiver Grass project
Recognising that the Vetiver GrassTechnology is a low cost, labour intensive technology, suitable for rural Vietnam, the Vietnam Foundation supported a trial program that attempted, for the first time, to use Vetiver Grass for stabilising soil against erosion caused by waves in the Mekong Delta.

The trail program consists of two stages:

  • stage 1 (Mar 2001- Mar 2002): to set up a plant nursery
  • stage 2 (Mar 2002- Mar 2003): set up test sites and conduct experiment.

If the technology is proved successful then it will be widely introduced to people in the Mekong delta to combat the wave erosion problem.

The Vietnam Foundation’s financial support for the project amounted to AUD 2970.
Following the commitment from the Vietnam Foundation, the Donner Foundation in the USA, through a proposal by Dr Paul Trương, pledged its contribution of USD 8300 to the project also.
The project is being executed by Mr Lưu Thái Danh, Dr Lê Việt Dũng and other staff at the Department of Crop Science, University of Cần Thơ.
Dr Paul Trương also donates his time as consultant and joint supervisor of the project..

At the end of the first stage of the project (Mar 2002), a 4-hectare nursery consisting of 10 Million slips of grass has been set up, ready for use in the second stage. The research team also added studies of tolerance of the Vetiver Grass to acid sulphate and saline soils and use of the grass for stock feed.
Many other institutions, private enterprises and the governmental authorities have since shown great interests in the technology.


Two-month old Vetiver grass in nursery

VTG-RiverBank4 VTG-RiverBank1


Vetiver grass planted …


along river banks

For further information please see

* These photos were taken from website of The Vetiver Network International

Cà Lúi village is a poor, isolated, mountainous area in Sơn Hòa District, of Phú Yên Province. It is about 100 km west of Tuy Hòa province town. The area is formerly a “new economic area”. It was severely damaged by typhoon in October-November 2001. The current population is about 2500. No school is currently available for the about 550 children.

Prof N T Tong (right) and local people at the site of the new school

Our representative, Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống (first on right) and local people at the site of the new school

The project consisted of the construction of a 4-classroom primary school. Construction started in April 2002 and was completed at end of August 2002. And the school was ready for the 2002-03 school year.

New classrooms


Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống (fifth from right), and the school staff at the opening day.

The total cost of the project was 175 Million VND. The Vietnam Foundation contributed 120 Million VND. The Phú Yên magazine and local authorities contributed the balance.

Students waiting to go to the new classrooms

The Thừa Thiên/Huế area is well known as an important historic and cultural centre of Vietnam. Not so well known is the fact that it is also one of the most economic disadvantaged regions of the country. Cultivable land is scarce, industry is lacking and the weather is unforgiving. In general, the living standard of the local population is low compared with that of people in other areas. Many people are poor peasants, hired labourers or street hawkers who struggle daily to find enough income to feed themselves and their families.

Corrective Surgery Program

The Corrective Surgery Program was initiated by the Friend of Hue Foundation (FHF) in the USA. It aims to provide free corrective surgery for handicapped children of destitute families in the region. The FHF has permanent staff in Hue who liaise with the Hue Central Hospital to diagnose, select and schedule treatment of children. The families of selected children are not only given free surgery but also associated costs such as pre-surgery consultation, hospitalisation, post-surgery treatment, rehabilitation, transportation costs to and from hospital, etc. The total cost for each case varies from 1 Million VND to 6 Million VND









Support from the Vietnam Foundation
In support of the important work done by the Friend of Hue Foundation, in July 2001, friends and members of the Vietnam Foundation contributed USD 2000 to the program.



With the contribution from the Vietnam Foundation, from September 2001 to November 2001 the following children were given treatment. The benefits of these treatments are as shown in the before-after photos of some of these children.

Name DOB Residence Disability
Nguyen Thi Huyen 5/12/90 thon 1, xa Vinh Thanh. huyen Phu Vang Cleft palate, can not speak
Phan Van Tin 16/2/97 thon 1, xa Vinh Thanh. huyen Phu Vang Cleft Palate
Nguyen Van Dong 12/1/00 thon Dong Lam, xa Phong An, huyenHuong Dien curved feet
Phan Thi Be 1998 thon 1, xa Vinh Thanh, huyen Phu Vang Cleft palate, difficulty in talking, eating and drinking
Bui Thi Tam 2000 thon 4, xa Vinh Ha, huyen Phu Vang Blood tumor (on skin)
Le Tien 5/3/96 to 12, phuong Phu Binh, Hue inflamed knee-joint
Ho Thi Be 1998 xom 2, Dong Mieu, xa Phu An, huyen Phu Vang curved left feet
Le Van My 8/12/97 Luong Loc, Phu Luong, huyen Phu Vang tilted right elbow-joint
Diep Thi Da Hop 20/6/90 Pho Trach, Phong Dien, Hue Contraction of left wrist
Dang Thi Phuong Hong 1989 Thi tran Phu Bai Contraction of left hand’s second finger
Hoang thi Thu 1993 Quang Ninh, Quang Trach, Quang Binh wry backbone
Nguyen Thi Cuong 1989 Tan Binh, Thuan An, Phu Vang curved left foot
Nguyen Van Ta 10/5/98 thon Ha Chau, xa Loc An, huyen Phu Loc contraction of right elbow









Gò Ngãi is located at Mỹ Thạnh Bắc village, Đức Huệ district, Long An province, about 80 km north-west of HCM City. The village is in a new economic area and home of many new settlers. They came to clear land and plant sugar canes or to work for the nearby Hiệp Hòa Sugar Mill. The population increases rapidly but there are not enough schools for children.

Existing school

The old school

The old school

The existing school was built temporarily by the local setllers. It had two small classrooms of no more than 15 m2 each, of bamboo construction with thatched walls and roofs and bare earth floor. These classrooms were shared by 53 childrens in 4 classes, from grade 1 to grade 4. The building has been deteriorated rapidly in the last two years. Most of the children ceased study after the fourth grade because the closest school which has fifth grade is about 10 km away.

Happy with the new school

Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống, our represenative, with school children on the opening day of the new school

Teachers and parents

Teachers and parents at the opening day

The project
The project consisted of the construction and supply of:

  • Three classrooms of 42 m2 each, with brick walls, tiled roof and concrete floor
  • Two separate male and female toilets
  • A 12 m3 drinking water storage system
  • New tables, chairs and blackboards for students and teachers.

Construction was commenced in August 1999 and completed in early October 1999. The Official Opening Ceremony was on 27 November 1999.

Young guards of honour in front of their newly built school

School children forming guards of honour in front of their newly built school

Planting trees in the front yard

and planting trees for their new school

Total cost of the project was VND182 million, of which the Vietnam Foundation contributed VND120 million (about AUD 20,000), local people contributed VND47 million and Tuổi Trẻ Newspaper VND15 million.
The local population also contributed labour to clear the site and to build the foundation, play yard and access roads.

In late 1998, the seaside Cần Giờ district, some 30 kilometres from HCM City, suffered a catastrophic crop failure due to a combination of severe draught, wide-spread oil spill and incursion of salt water into cultivated areas. A large number of senior high school students had to give up schooling to seek work to support their families and help them avoid starvation

Scholarship Project
The project aimed to give financial assistance to students so that they could continue with their schooling. The students who were selected were those with good academic records, of good character and with family in dire economic circumstances.

Dr Nguyen Thien Tong, representative of the Foundation  spoke to students and parents

Dr Nguyễn Thiện Tống, representative of the Foundation spoke to students and parents

Students waiting for scholarships

Students waiting for scholarships

A total of 50 full scholarships (worth VND500,000 each) and 50 half scholarships (worth VND350,000 each) were given. They were disbursed to two high schools in Cần Giờ district: Bình Khánh High School (30 full and 32 half scholarships) and Cần Thạnh High School (20 full and 18 half scholarships)

Receiving the scholarships

Students receiving the scholarships

Dr Tong with students

Dr Tống talked with the students

The project was fully funded by the Vietnam Foundation. Tuổi Trẻ newspaper in HCMC helped with the general management of the project, collecting applications, selection of candidates, etc.
Closing date for scholarship applications was on 28 November 1998. Dispersion of the scholarships was on 17 December 1998.

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