One would never have guessed that a trip to the Antarctica was what started CHANGE.

In 1997, the first Vietnamese woman to set foot onto the world’s coldest continent, through a UN mission to raise worldwide attention to global warming and melting ice caps. In its wake, the trip forever changed her life. She quit her lucrative marketing job to begin advocating for efforts mitigating climate change – an uncommon term for most Vietnamese then.

In 2013, this woman – Hong Hoang – successfully registered a local NGO that specialized in campaigning for urgent environmental issues in Vietnam. She named the tiny organisation CHANGE, hoping its work would change and inspire more lives, just like the Antarctica trip had changed hers 16 years before. CHANGE then soon launched the first wave of awareness campaigns across the country, exposing the public to the term climate change, and has since become the official national partner of the global grassroots movement 350.org. Its most current campaign called POWER UP calls for a switch in national energy direction from burning coal to investing in abundant renewable energy.

Expanding to cover another urgent environmental issue in Vietnam, in 2014 CHANGE launched the Stop Using Rhino Horn campaign. Highlighting keratin – the same protein that makes up both rhino horn and human nails, the campaign targets cancer patients, businessmen, celebrities and youths to spread better understanding and commitment in rejecting the usage of products from endangered species.

CHANGE is one of very few progressive environmental local NGOs operating in Ho Chi Minh City that mount extensive public campaigns. The tiny organisation attracts support from different demographics: youth volunteers staff large-scale fairs; institutions and agencies award crucial sponsorship packages; NGO networks provide collaboration and guidance; celebrities perform free of charge at music shows etc. Appropriating this support has helped CHANGE foster immense strength in its communication strategies. Our small but dedicated team of CHANGE is committed to continue utilising this strength to fight for the environmental causes and bring justice to impacted communities.

Here at CHANGE, we are committed to a vision of a Vietnamese society where the public is thoroughly aware of urgent environmental and developmental issues, thus actively adopting sustainable lifestyles and business practises. We need all the support we can get to realise this mission. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you think you can help.

Drop us a message at info@changevn.org or at facebook.com/CHANGEvn. Let’s work together for a sustainable future!

By Binh Vuong, CHANGE development manager.