“I was so frustrated with the scream of kids, street vendors, and neighbors falling into the river when they crossed the old bridge” Ms. Ly shared with heartfelt concern. Witnessing the challenges faced by her community, she knew it was time for action. That was when she joined hands with the PASSA group, a team of fifteen local champions in Giong Rieng District, Kien Giang Province, working side by side with Habitat for Humanity Vietnam to create a safer and stronger community.
PASSA is a participatory disaster risk reduction method at the very heart of Habitat Vietnam’s programs. It empowers the community with knowledge, tools, and a supportive environment to design solutions to housing and disaster readiness issues in their communities.
The champion group recognized the urgent need for change and took it upon themselves to find a solution. The old, run-down bridge was a constant source of danger and frustration, especially during the rainy season. Their decision to build a new inter-hamlet bridge connecting Vinh Phuoc and Luong Truc hamlets in Vinh Phu commune was not just driven by practicality; it was born from a shared sense of responsibility to protect their fellow community members.
Inspired by the passion and determination of the champion group, families nearby the bridge, including Ms. Ly’s, generously donated part of their land to build the bridge’s foundation. They were not alone in their effort—through the group’s advocacy, they inspired the local government to contribute financial support, resulting in a collaborative effort that strengthened the initiative’s impact and sustainability.
Beyond its tangible benefits, the new bridge symbolizes a community united, ready to face whatever challenges come their way. By enhancing economic opportunities and ensuring safer passage during disasters, it stands as a testament to the resilience of the people themselves.
Nationally, Habitat Vietnam has established 270 PASSA members, pioneered 11 initiatives, and impacted almost 6,000 people, making positive changes and empowerment throughout the country. The journey of the Kien Giang champion group is just one example of the transformative power of PASSA and the enduring impact of community-driven initiatives.