About the Vietnamese Association of Illinois
The Vietnamese Association of Illinois (VAI) focuses on serving diverse communities, fostering unity, and promoting Vietnamese American identity.
We are a non-profit, community-based organization and mutual assistance association whose core principles include:
- Assisting people through cultural, social, and educational programs
- Providing social services
- Generating and encouraging the spirit of mutual assistance and active citizenship participation among Vietnamese Americans
- Strengthening and maintaining the solidarity of Vietnamese Americans in the state of Illinois
Vietnamese Americans are one of the newer and fastest growing ethnic communities in the United States. The first wave of Vietnamese refugees came to the U.S. in 1975 as a result of the Vietnam War. Many of them fled their homeland by boat to refugee camps around Southeast Asia and eventually resettled in the U.S.
Pay it forward . . .
Today, there are over 1.5 million Vietnamese Americans in the U.S. and 25,000 in Illinois. In Chicago, the largest concentrations of Vietnamese live in the Uptown, Edgewater, Albany Park, and Rogers Park neighborhoods.
In the past four decades, Vietnamese Americans established communities and organizations around the U.S. to organize resources for resettlement, social services, employment, healthcare, and the maintenance of cultural heritage. Moreover, they made significant contributions to the U.S. in science, technology, education, politics, and culture.
However, many Vietnamese Americans, including more recent immigrants, struggle to adjust to their new lives in the U.S. Lack of English language skills or transferable job skills prevent many from making a smooth adjustment to their new home. Meeting the demands of a new culture and a complex urban environment present a formidable challenge to many Vietnamese newcomers. Thus, our organization exists to address these and many other challenges immigrants face.