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ICC Note: It is encouraging to read that faith-based outreach is allowed to proceed in Vietnam, although there are apparent differences in the religious freedom allowed in the cities, compared with that allowed in the countryside.  Pray that these students from around Vietnam are exposed to the clear message of Christ, and are able to carry it back to their rural communities.

By Thanh Thuy

06/10/2015 Vietnam (AsiaNews)

Every year many university students in the capital come from rural provinces. Hostels run by various Catholic religious congregations offer low-cost rooms, study aid and spiritual assistance.

Vân Anh, a university student of English, like about 100 thousand of his peers every year, moved to the capital to attend classes and take exams. He found a place in a hostel run by Catholic nuns and told AsiaNews: “I’ve been here for two years now. All members of the house are welcoming and sociable, friendly and willing to help others. My home is in the province of Thanh Hoa. My family is very poor, but my parents are assured in knowing that I am here with the nuns. ”

There are numerous hostels run by Catholic personnel in Ho Chi Minh City. They are used to meeting the needs of poor families in rural areas, who send their children to the capital for a better education, but who are often disoriented and alone. At the beginning of activities, most of the religious (men and women) only took in Catholic students, but now even non-Catholics may find accommodation at an affordable price.

Lassallean brother Quân says he “conducted an investigation on the needs of students, living away from home, in Ho Chi Minh City. I visited some Catholic hostels and I noticed that groups of students who needed a safe place to stay. Living in the city, these young people do not have the support of their families and they feel abandoned in a new environment”.

The Catholic congregations who run the facilities, the brother continued, “are engaged in an informal educational model that is giving excellent results for students and their families. The young people (Catholics and non) are educated in the humanities, which society needs. In contrast, students who rent private apartments get lost almost straight away, tempted by consumerism and fall prey to the dangers of society. ”

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