8: Love Hanoi Conference

Love Hanoi Conference – Saturday 24/11 13:30-16:00

Situated between two rivers, with over 30,000 trees lining the streets, and more than 30 lakes dotting the city, Hanoi has a natural beauty rarely found in developing Asian cities. Yet, the rapid urbanization over recent decades presents a great burden on the environment. The small particle count (PM2.5) is “one of the highest in Southeast Asia” according to the OECD. Already, Hanoi is at the 10 million population mark, said the National Assembly in a recent report, almost 30 years ahead of schedule.

We love Hanoi, so how can we take action today to better the environment for tomorrow’s generation? That will be the question we will wrestle with at the upcoming Love Hanoi Conference on environment on Saturday November 24 in the afternoon. HIF CityPartners is organizing this conference for all HIFers, partner organizations, local churches, and friends to participate in. We have recruited several presenters to help us understand the opportunities and challenges in Hanoi. We are still looking for people interested in pitching ideas, products and initiatives in 5 minutes presentations.





6: One-day roundtable with rehab leaders and government officials

Deputy Chief of Mission, Caryn R. McClelland of the US Embassy visited the Celebrate Recovery training, here holding flowers and posing with SAMHSA staff, Helping Up Mission experts, HIF staff and CityPartners volunteers

On Wednesday, during the Celebrate Recovery training, the key leaders of the Christian drug rehabs joined a one-day roundtable discussion with government officials in HIF’s classroom. Organized by SAMHSA, the goal was to seek support from relevant government offices for the faith-based rehab centers in order to provide much needed services to the beneficiaries. SAMHSA director Nadine Rogers had recruited Tom Bond of the Helping Up Mission in Baltimore to present an integrated model of a Christian faith-based rehabilitation center. Dr. Denis Antoine of the John Hopkins University and Hospital shared about their partnership with Helping Up Mission as a role model for cross-sector partnerships.

Workshop participants represented the Vietnam Administration for AIDS Control, Hanoi Prevention Medicine Centre, Government Committee on Religious Affairs, VHATTC Hanoi Medical University, Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives, FHI 360, MOLISA Department of Social Vices Prevention, and the University of Labour and Social Affairs. Besides the Christian drug rehab leaders and pastors, the Catholic priest of Hai Phong and a Buddhist monk also attended the workshop. This roundtable being the first of its kind, the various participants committed to mutual support and collaboration with practical action steps to be made soon. Many thanks to Nadine and her staff for championing these milestone events.



5: Celebrate Recovery training in partnership with US Embassy equips 120 people

This past week a number of HIFers and many local drug rehab centers engaged in a Celebrate Recovery workshop. It was well attended by both locals and expats and it was exciting to see both local and international churches and communities engage with this well known 12-step recovery program. Jonathan Sherman, the Asia Director for Celebrate Recovery , shared how they run Celebrate Recovery in the USA and in China, and how we could potentially apply their principles and techniques here in Vietnam. HIF will be launching our own 12-step group soon!

This event was the third and largest training HIF has hosted in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) office of the US Embassy over recent years for the purpose of building the capacity of the Christian faith-based rehabs. This time, SAMHSA recruited the help of Saddleback Church’s Celebrate Recovery program to introduce a Christian 12-step approach to recovery from various kinds of addictions. This program provides additional tools and content for the Christian rehab centers in guiding their students through their recovery journey.

In addition, Celebrate Recovery can be used by any church or group to provide an ongoing weekly support group for graduates from the rehab centers and for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction. It is our hope that several Vietnamese groups will be launched in Hanoi and that Celebrate Recovery will spread nationwide. SAMHSA funded the travel expenses of the trainers as well as the translation of the course materials, which we hope to officially publish in the near future. HIF CityPartners contributed by sponsoring the simultaneous translation equipment and translators, as well as the meals and breaks.



2: Keep Hanoi Clean: Long Bien Project

Keep Hanoi Clean: Long Bien Project

There is a lot to love about Hanoi.  The culture, the food, the people. There is a lot which we are able to look at and take joy in, but for all the beauty it holds, Hanoi has an ugly side to it too. For two years James Kendall lived in Hanoi, like most of us when confronted by a mountain of garbage, covered his mouth, looked away, and kept on moving. That was until May of 2015 when he finally decided that he was done just letting the garbage continue to encroach upon his neighborhood and decided to do something about it.  Taking up what resources he had, James began to reclaim his land and on that day Keep Hanoi Clean was born.    

Ever since, the group has held regular clean-up projects around the city to raise awareness of the issue and help generate a proactive spirit of change in the community.  This summer, Love in Action connected with James and his team to create a partnership between the two groups holding three clean-up projects in local neighborhoods and parks to date. 

November 25th and 26th will mark the date for the largest clean-up project Keep Hanoi Clean has ever attempted and it’s taking place at the Long Bien Bridge.  This effort will require hundreds of people armed with trash bags and shovels to help the community that lives under the bridge take back their land. In addition, we hope that the project will establish a partnership between the local community and the government to provide regular continued care for the area.