Cam Tu works in a clothing factory seven days a week. Her salary is low so she works overtime whenever possible. Cam Tu is one of millions who have moved from the countryside to the cities to find a better life. Not for her, but for her parents.
The ‘Doi moi’ or ‘new life’ policy was introduced in 1986 to develop the economy. In its wake Vietnam is rapidly moving from being a rural to an urban economy, with exports such as rice, coffee and pepper being challenged by shoes, clothing and appliances. ‘Hang Viet Nam. Chat Luong Cao’ meaning ‘Vietnamese Product of High Quality’ is now seen on a wide variety of products. Vast new roads linking major cities are underway and the Vietnamese government have even funded better roads into neighbouring Cambodia and Laos to improve trade.
Millions have moved to the urban centres, just like Cam Tu. As skyscrapers emerge, the young male and female construction workers live and sleep on the building sites. In large clothing factories a workforce of mainly women labour for long hours and sleep in cramped dormitories.
Cam Tu feels lost in the city. She misses her family and can only get time off to see them once a year at ‘Tet’ New Year. This year she may not even be able to afford that – the bus fare home costs $8, and since Cam Tu’s sister became ill, every penny she has earned has gone on medical bills. As more people mass into the towns though, there are more opportunities for the gospel. Young migrants are one of the groups most responsive to the gospel. Usually after a few years, labourers return home and since many come from remote rural areas, this is beginning to seed small pockets of believers in formerly unreached areas.
- Praise for the opportunities that urbanisation has given for the spread of the gospel.
- Pray for those whose jobs mean they are separated from families for prolonged periods of time.
- Pray for justice in wealth distribution, and for those who live in extreme poverty while others get richer around them.