The role of the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics has been strengthened in recent years, contributing to the development of culture, the economy and charitable work in the country, according to Father Nguyen Cong Danh, head of the committee.

During the past six months, the committee had cooperated with the Vietnam Fatherland Front and Government agencies at all levels to perform various tasks to eliminate poverty and contribute to national socio-economic development, he said at a review conference held on July 14 in HCM City.

Many programmes to help poor people living in Binh Dinh, Tra Vinh and other provinces have been implemented, in particular one to rebuild or refurbish 516 houses in these southern provinces, the priest added.

Many parishioners in HCM City and southern provinces have been able to dramatically increase their annual incomes as a result of agricultural extension programmes launched by the committee, he said.

In the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau , the Catholic community has contributed 6 billion VND and 20,000 farm animals to help people living under the poverty line to improve their living standards, he added.

Phan Khac Tu, deputy head of the Committee for Solidarity of Vietnamese Catholics, said thanks to these efforts, many localities have succeeded in bringing down the number of households living below the poverty line to less than 5 percent.

He said Catholic orphanages such as Mai Hoa and Thien Phuoc in HCM City and My Lam in Kien Giang province have been well maintained.

This year, the committee plans to donate 50 billion VND (2.9 million USD) to help the poor.

“It is a small amount of money, but it is evidence of efforts by the Catholic community to help improve life of people”, Tu said, adding that after the conference, representatives of the committee would do charity work in central and Central Highland provinces./.