The Center for the Encouragement of Self-Reliance (CESR) is a small private 501(c)(3) organization founded by the family of Dr. Doan L. Phung with the purpose of encouraging Vietnamese both inside and outside Vietnam to look for ways to help themselves and their countrymen. Observing with horror the suffering of unsuspecting young Vietnamese women and children being tricked into modern day slavery, CESR puts up $100,000 as a challenge grant to assist and encourage its fellow VA NGO members to double up the efforts to fight trafficking of Vietnamese nationals. CESR also creates an annual Effectiveness Prize to acknowledge an individual or organization that has been significantly effective in effort to prevent people from being victims, protect the victims, and/or prosecute the perpetrator(s).

What Is the Counter-Trafficking Challenge Grant (CTCG)?

The CTCG aims at assisting and encouraging projects to raise money and enlist volunteers to fight trafficking of unsuspecting Vietnamese into slavery for labor or sex exploitation. These projects that engage in the prevention of trafficking, protection of the victims, and prosecution of perpetrators inside or outside of Vietnam

The $100,000 has deposited with the coordinating office of the VANGO and will be used to match funds raised by VA NGO members or collaborative organizations for the stated purpose.

Priorities for accessing funds from the CTCG include:

(1) Influence decision makers inside Vietnam to establish and implement policies aimed at protecting Vietnamese nationals from being trafficked.

(2) Obtain support from international government, organizations and leaders to help protect Vietnamese nationals from being exploited while in a foreign land.

(3) Deliver direct services to vulnerable communities and victims

(4) Raise awareness at all levels about the increasing risks of trafficking in Vietnam under the smokescreen of labor export and individual freedom in marriage.

Selecting Applications for Award

A review panel from the VA NGO Network will receive and screen all applications. It will pass on its confidential recommendations to the VA NGO Board of Directors which will make decisions on awards on a quarterly basis in consultation with CESR. Only information on selected projects will be made available.

Awards are given at two project levels:
Start-up Projects:

  • Awards up to $5,000. At least 35% of total budget (including in kind) comes from other sources outside of the CTCG.
  • For initiatives or to groups not previously engaged in the fight against trafficking
  • Projects must be completed within twelve months of award being made

Scale & Spread Projects:

  • Awards from $5,001 to $25,000. At least 60% of total budget (including in kind) comes from other sources outside of the CTCG.
  • Projects (or service goals if in multi-year programs) must be completed within 24 months of award
  • Collaboration among VA NGOs will be given high priority.

Who Can Apply for a Grant?

Any individual, organization or group affiliated with the VA NGO Network is eligible to apply. Membership in the Network is not required but priority will be given to Network members. (For more information on how to become a member click here). Affiliation is defined to be membership in the Network itself, or to be fiscally sponsored by member organizations, or have collaborative projects/programs with the Network members. Women groups and organizations from inside Vietnam are encouraged to connect and apply. The application is available here.

No organizations will be given more than one award of each level in a 12-month period from the date of the first award.


Rolling basis. Funds will be disbursed throughout the year (on a quarterly basis) to respond to urgent needs, once matching funds have been identified.

For additional information and grant application please contact

September 28-30, 2007, San Diego, California

The 3rd VA NGO Conference, with theme “the strength of many, the heart of One” – will place emphasis on providing Capacity Building Workshops for members, and at the same time presenting insightful speakers who will discuss Vietnam’s development trends and the impacts of humanitarian work in Vietnam. At this conference, VA NGO Network will also present the State of the Network updates and our Strategic Plan as an outcome of the Network Benefit Matrix surveyed at the 2nd VA NGO Conference in 2005.

We are pleased to introduce our distinguished guest speakers and would like to thank them for giving their time and accepting this opportunity to share their knowledge and wisdom on a wide range of topics.


Professor Vo Tong Xuan, President, An Giang University (Viet Nam)
Topic: Impacts of VA Humanitarian Work on Education and Development in Vietnam

Dr. Nguyen Huu Phuoc, Author (Huntington Beach, California)
Topic: Relieve Stress Through Laughing & Psychological Aspects of NGOs

Jay H. Shidler, Founder and Managing Partner, The Shidler Group (Honolulu, Hawaii)
Topic: Viet Nam Higher Education and A Vision for The Development of The Pacific Rim.

Dr James Munter, President, Board of Directors of Children of Peace International (Salt Lake City, Utah)
Topic: How to Keep the Network Intact and Its Members Motivated

Workshop and Capacity Building in Vietnam – The Whys and Hows, the Ins and Outs
Fundraising – Principles and Ideas
Tools for Financial Efficiency
Safeguarding our Children
So You Want to Do a Medical Mission
RoNG: The Roles of the Next Vietnamese American Generation in NGO Leadership
Nursing Education in Vietnam: How it is Now, and Where It is Going
Collaboration Site: Assessments & Development Plan


Friday September 28, 2007

3:00-6:00pm – Registration and Display Set Up

5:30-10pm – Opening Night Reception Dinner, Welcoming message and Introductions Networking

Saturday September 29, 2007
7:30 am – Noon
Opening remark by Conference Chairperson
Keynote speaker: Dr Vo Tong Xuan
Multi-track Sessions

Guest Speaker: Dr. Nguyen Huu Phuoc
Free time

1:45 – 5:15pm
Multi-Track Sessions
Plenary Session: State of the Network

6:00 – 10:00pm
Dinner & Video presentations
Keynote Speaker: Jay H. Shidler
Experience sharing with our guests
Show your talents time

Sunday September 30, 2007
7:30 – 11:30am
Where is the network going from here?
Keynote Speaker: Dr James Munter


The Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organizations Network (VA NGO Network) is honored to host the Reception for the 7th Congress of Pediatrics of Central Vietnam.

Hue, Vietnam, February 13, 2007 – Project Vietnam (AAP-PV), Children of Peace International (COPI), and the Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organizations Network (VA NGO Network) will host the Reception for the 7th Congress of Pediatrics of Central Vietnam at the Hotel Saigon Morin in Hue on March 4th, 2007. Co-sponsors for this event include East Meets West Foundation, Kids Without Borders, International Children Assistant Network (ICAN), Our 1 World, Pacific Links Foundation and VNHELP.

The purpose of the Pediatrics Congress is to share best practices and knowledge on children health among professionals. This Congress is expected to draw up to 400 attendants of pediatric professionals and representatives of Vietnam health institutions. The Congress is organized by the Vietnamese Pediatric Association, a national organization for Vietnam pediatricians and advocates for the healthcare needs of children in Vietnam. Professor Nguyễn Tấn Viên, PhD, President of the Pediatric Association of Central Vietnam is the Chief of the Organizing Committee of this Congress.

The Network’s mission is to strengthen its member’s abilities to have a broad impact in humanitarian and development work in Vietnam, by building a united voice on issues of common interest, delivering practical benefits and building capacity for member organizations.

Date: November 17, 2005

Vietnamese Americans Working Together to Help Vietnam

More than 120 participants from 36 Vietnamese American Non-Governmental Organizations (VA NGOs) throughout the US will be convening at the Second VANGO Conference from November 18-20, 2005 in Sonoma, California. The theme for this year’s conference is Collaboration and Community Advocacy.

VA NGOs are groups based in the Vietnamese American community that work in Vietnam in areas such a humanitarian relief, community development and assistance for the poor and disadvantaged. Many of the organizations are also active in the U.S., providing services and help to the Vietnamese American community.

Since the First Conference in May 2004, more than fifteen collaborative efforts have been formed among VA NGOs in areas such as relief work (including aid to tsunami and Katrina’s victims), scholarships, health care, school construction, teacher training and IT instruction.

We are pleased to see such rapid progress, said Anh Tran, President of Pacific Links Foundation, the non-profit spearheading the effort to bring Vietnamese American groups together. Organizations are being very creative in combining resources, from sharing local staff and office to jointly sponsoring projects. One group of organizations even put together a comprehensive anti-trafficking program that has received financial support from USAID.

VA NGOs are growing stronger by working together, noted Diep Vuong, Chair of the VA NGO Network Planning Committee, the body charged with the task of developing the vision and strategy for the network. The VA NGO Network Planning Committee has been working closely with the US Embassy in Vietnam as well as with Vietnamese government agencies responsible for facilitating NGO work in Vietnam to promote better recognition for the contributions of Vietnamese Americans. Transparency, Accountability, Sustainability, and Recognition are the cornerstones of our efforts to build stronger Vietnamese American philanthropic organizations, said Ms. Vuong.

While we are grateful for the financial assistance from the various foundations to help us organize the conference, we also want to acknowledge the support from the Vietnamese American community in the last 30 years. Diaspora philanthropy is what fuels our energy and nourishes our commitment to help the people and the children of Vietnam. It should be recognized and appreciated, added Vuong.

The conference will honor Prof. Lê Xuân Khoa and Mr. Huu Dinh Nguyen for their lifelong dedication to helping the needy and promoting development in Vietnam.

Funding for the conference has come from the Ford Foundation, The Asia Foundation, and the Alexander Wallace Gerbode Foundation. Support also comes from Vietnamese American donors and the VA NGOs themselves: Le Viet Canh & Vuong Ngoc Quyen Foundation, the Tran Family, East Meets West Foundation, Children of Peace International, International Children Assistance Network, and Pacific Links Foundation.