US veteran foundation signs deal with AO-stricken area

VIETNAM NEWS SERVICE, OCTOBER 12, 2OO6
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Disabled children and Agent Orange victims participate in their speech class at a special education school in Thai Binh northern province, which received funding from the Viet Nam Veterans of America. VNS PHOTO: TA QUYNH HOA
HA NOI — A memorandum of agreement for dioxin resolution initiatives in Viet Nam was signed between the Viet Nam Veterans of America (VVA) and the Thai Binh People’s Committee on Tuesday.
The project, which has been funded by the Ford Foundation, will provide the province with VND400 million, (US$25,000) to enable victims of Agent Orange to undertake varying forms of vocational training, surgery and rehabilitation.
The province is home to 27,900 people who have been subjected to dioxins from Agent Orange, of whom 8,000 are currently receiving allowances from the state, according to head of the Thai Binh Association for Agent Orange/Dioxin Victims Ho Sy Hai.
VVA’s international humanitarian programmes assist innocent civilian victims of war and conflict in 14 war-torn countries by providing physical and social rehabilitation services as well as identifying land mine clearance projects and other public health priorities.
VVA’s program, Dioxin Resolution Initiatives in Viet Nam (DRIVE) will eventually conduct similar activities in 11 provinces throughout the country.
Those slated for programmes are: Ninh Binh, Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Quang Nam, Da Nang, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Can Tho and Dong Nai.
In each province, VVA will conduct a needs assessment in co-operation with local organisations and tailor the services to be provided to the needs of the province.
“We saw and heard of terrible suffering from chemical contamination, or what is commonly referred to as the Agent Orange issue during and after war. This left us with a burning resolve to do everything that we could to help those who were suffering, and whose lives had been turned upside down by their exposure to these deadly toxins.” said Thomas P. Leckinger, Country Representative for the VVAF in Viet Nam.

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