Vietnamese American Civic Association (VACA)
1452 Dorchester Ave. 3rd Floor, Dorchester,
Contact: Mr. Duy Pham
VACA is a mutual Assistance Association (MAA)
founded in 1984 by Vietnamese for Vietnamese refugees. From the
start, it provided an array of services that were designed to help
Vietnamese refugees and immigrants to address daily living needs,
successfully adjust to a new country, culture and language, and
achieve economic self-sufficiency. Civic and citizenship education
were added to the ever expanding spectrum of services to encourage
civic participation and community- and self-advocacy. VACA serves
the Boston and Metropolitan Boston Vietnamese communities, which
is concentrated in Dorchester, especially the Fields Corner neighborhood.
Much of this community has low levels of English language skills,
physical and emotional disabilities which are a result of their
traumatic pre-immigration experience (untreated illnesses, long
hours of forced and grueling labor, physical and psychological trauma
and/or torture). This has been exacerbated by the adjustment process
to life in the United States and the stress of family reunions after
years of separation, language and cultural differences and poverty.
An estimated 15,000 to 22,000 Vietnamese live
in Greater Boston, primarily in the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester,
Allston-Brighton, and East Boston, and the communities of Chelsea,
Malden, Quincy, and Everett. The largest concentration-4000, according
to the 1990 U.S. Census data, but 12,000 according to community
estimates-lives in Dorchester. Most Vietnamese refugees entered
the US between the mid-1970s and the mid-1990s.
To develop a strong Vietnamese community by promoting
family self-sufficiency and well-being and community empowerment.
The wide array of services that have been designed
and offered by VACA reflect its mission. The agency helps individuals
and families to access the health, educational and economic resources
and opportunities which help them to establish economic stability
and good health, which in turn strengthens the family structure
and the community's development and its sense of empowerment. VACA
offers naturalization assistance, ESL, employment services, social
services and health education.