16 February 2017
In November 2016, 10 employees from New Zealand and Australia representing Sanitarium, Vitality Works and Life Health Foods visited Vietnam to support the work of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA Australia) in Tra On Vinh Long, one of the poorest regions in Vietnam. The region has suffered from salt water intrusion caused by El Niño and rising sea levels making the water in the Mekong Delta undrinkable and severely impacting livlihood crops and health in the community.
The trip was the latest Spirit of Sanitarium Awards International Community Project where award recipients are invited to participate in an international development project. The team, many of whom were only meeting for the first time, worked in a variety of project areas including completing a handwashing station and improved play equipment at a kindergarten, a water tower, and a 3,000L water tank. Team members also carried out water health and sanitarium workshops covering tooth brushing, hand washing, rubbish disposal, rubbish disposal and other safe hygiene practices.
"Leaving the project was bittersweet; it was great to know that we had made a difference in the community but sad knowing we would probably never see those faces again. We leave with the hope that they will remember what we showed them so they have a greater chance to live long healthy lives" – Hayley Paull, 2016 recipient
Sanitarium supported the project with a donation of $29,150 which went toward the costs of the project work and materials including 250 large water jars for select housholds.