Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber (L) and Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen make Tet biscuits at Hope Box (Photo: Screenshot)
On the threshold of the Lunar New Year (Tet), Ambassadors to Vietnam of the G4 countries, namely New Zealand, Canada, Norway and Switzerland, have visited Hope Box, a shelter for victims of gender-based violence, in Hanoi.
The ambassadors and women in Hope Box made Tet biscuits and spread the message of “hope” in the new year.
Through the special visit, the diplomats expressed their hope to contribute to raising awareness about gender equality and preventing gender-based violence in Vietnam.
New Zealand Ambassador Tredene Dobson expressed her delight to welcome her first Tet in Vietnam, describing it a great opportunity to learn from some extraordinary women about what this holiday means to the people of Vietnam and to share some stories of “Hope” for the New Year.
“2022 is the Year of the Tiger. Tigers are known for their courage, generosity and their drive to help others. And that pretty much sums up the women I’ve met here at Hope Box. I hope that in the Year of the Tiger, all of our countries have the courage to nurture, educate, support and protect our women and girls. May our girls especially, find their voice and shout it from the roof tops – the future is ours,” she said.
Canadian Ambassador Deborah Paul thanked Hope Box and other organisations for women and by women for all their efforts to promote women’s rights and to provide opportunities for women to reach their full potential in the face of challenges.
“In the year of the Tiger, we all have a role to play – as partners and allies – in achieving gender equality and building a world where women and girls can do anything and be anything, free from violence,” she added.
Ambassadors to Vietnam of the G4 countries visit Hope Box (Photo: Screenshot)
Meanwhile, Swiss Ambassador Ivo Sieber stated that gender norms are constructed and reinforced by men and women. It is key that men and boys are mobilised to help changing social norms and to promote women’s rights.
According to him, violence against women and girls is an especially unacceptable form of gender disparity, and tends to get worse in times of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Easing access to support becomes more important than ever. Women and men must work together to tackle the root causes of gender-based discrimination and violence in particular. Equal opportunities for all not only benefit women, but the society as a whole,” he stressed.
Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen, for her part, said she is grateful for the opportunity to meet and support these inspiring and strong women, and together with them share experiences and make cookies for Tet.
“Tet means Hope. I hope for a better 2022 that brings love, health, and equal opportunities to everyone, particularly women and girls who have been even more marginalised due to COVID-19,” she said.
It has become a tradition that every year on the occasion of the Lunar New Year, the G4 ambassadors visit a group of disadvantaged people in society.
Hope Box is a new social enterprise model that helps Vietnamese women who experience domestic violence get stable jobs and live a new life.