Elderly People's Association Plays
Active Role in Society
Viet Nam News Agency
May 5, 2005
The Viet Nam Elderly People's Association (VEA) has since its inception in 1995 risen to become an important social organisation in the country.
As early as after the foundation of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam in 1945, in response to the late President Ho Chi Minh's appeal, elderly people formed associations to join the nation in the two resistance wars against foreign invaders.
Later when the country entered a period of national construction, old people in many localities voluntarily set up their own associations, called "longevity associations", to help each other in their daily lives.
In the 1990s as the country embarked on the renovation (Doi Moi) process, in response to the elderly's wish to have their own organisation to contribute to the country's renewal and development, the Viet Nam Elderly People's Association was officially established on May 10, 1995. Only a half year later, the VEA had established branches in almost 70 percent of communes and wards nationwide, with five million members.
Today, the VEA's membership has reached 6.5 million people in 10,257 out of the country's 10,592 communes and wards. The membership includes 8,000 revolutionary veterans, 1.4 million pensioners, and 1.7 million war veterans.
With its wings spreading widely, the VEA has played an important role in boosting socio-economic development, especially at the grassroots level.
At its second congress in 2001, the VEA Central Committee launched an emulation movement nationwide, calling for the elderly to take part in social activities, such as poverty reduction programmes, and movements to promote education, and build a healthy lifestyle in their residential areas.
The elderly have also actively participated in strengthening the Party's committees and the administrations in their localities. They have participated in the people's inspection groups and reconciliation groups in their residential areas, greatly helping with the maintenance of security and social order.
Elderly people's activities in society have been lively discussed in their own newspaper, called the Elderly, which issued its first edition five months after the association's inception.
Many elderly people have been honoured for their outstanding contributions in the economic, scientific, technological, educational and health care spheres, as well as for ensuring social and political stability in the country.
Last year, a national committee for the elderly led by Deputy Prime Minister Pham Gia Khiem was set up. The same year, the National Assembly adopted resolutions on the care of the elderly and the building of a national plan of action concerning the elderly. These have helped further strengthen the elderly's role and activities in society.
The VEA has also energetically contributed to promoting the people-to-people diplomacy.
In 2004, the VEA hosted the annual Asia-Pacific Elderly Conference in Ha Noi. The conference brought together 60 delegates of 29 non-governmental organisations of the elderly from 19 countries and territories to share their experiences of care for the elderly and of drawing up of national plans of action on the elderly in their respective countries.