In 1994 Gilberte DO-HUU and Robert EBERHARDT visited Vietnam and especially the work of Bernard Kervyn and Thanh Truong. They came as friends from their time at Frères des Hommes (NGO), Gilberte and Robert in France, Bernard in Bangladesh ...
Visiting the Vietnamese countryside and abserving the pressing needs, quickly led to the desire to do something together. On the corner of the dining table in Ho Chi Minh City, they came up with possible names for a new NGO. VietNam Plus was born, a French association (loi 1901).
Thanh had a strong network of friends in the Vietnamese community in Paris. She had long helped the boat people for their integration in France; there are also groups of Vietnamese willing to do anything to save their country and their culture. Robert has been very active in associations. Finally, Bernard has kept a network of friends from the time he was working in Bangladesh. So soon enough a nucleus was created, enthusiastic and in any case very friendly.
Initially, Vietnam More had only one small project, in Tien Thanh. Little by little more projects were launched, and the Vietnamese team grew. Today it counts 180 people who run 4 major programs. Next, in 2007, came the expansion to Cambodia: a fifth project with 16 Khmer social workers.
In 1995, Bernard Kervyn was invited by Dr. Duong Quynh Hoa and Oxfam-Belgium to develop a micro-credit program in Tuc Trung (Dinh Quan). It was later expanded to neighboring communes. But in 2000 it became necessary to withdraw altogether from Dinh Quán due to conflicts with some local authorities. In 1999 Mekong Plus moved to Dúc Linh, and next to Tánh Linh. In late 2004, Mekong Plus started in the Mekong Delta, in Hau Giang.
After 2003 the Belgian branch has developed further. Following the extension in Cambodia (2007), Vietnam Plus changed its name into Mekong Plus
Dr Duong Quynh Hoa , now deceased, had a huge experience through the projects she had implemented. She had a great influence on Mekong Plus. She created the Development and Health Pediatric Center in HCMC (CPDS), which was until 1999 a hub for many NGOs. She received the title of doctor honoris causa in Paris (2 times) and Belgium (UCL, 1997).
Overall, our programs reach more than 200,000 people every year! Some activities have been stopped as they became less relevant: literacy classes for example. Then new ones have been added, such as inclusive education, the program for women's rights ... After the teams gain more experience and the communities provide increasing support, the programs become more and more cost effective. Several activities have become sustainable and our financial support has become minimal.