Supporting Agent Orange Caregivers in Vietnam

Vision & Beneficiaries

Vision

Quang_Binh_in_Vietnam.svgThis startup is led by the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) in Quang Binh province Vietnam. It supports families that have been devastated by Agent Orange, the dioxin-laden defoliant that was sprayed across much of Vietnam during the war. Quang Binh province alone has registered over 19,000 Agent Orange casualties.

The innovation in this startup lies in the fact that it focuses on the needs of caregivers like Mai Thi Loi, pictured below. Three of Mai Thi Loi’s sons were so severely affected by dioxin poisoning that they have been chained up to prevent them from harming themselves and others.  Like many Agent Orange caregivers, Mai Thi Loi is an aging widow. By easing the burden on her we support her family and community. As their profiles show, the caregivers are courageous and extremely hard-working.

Our program raises money for a limited number of vulnerable caregivers like Mai Thi Loi. The families have been chosen by AEPD on the basis of a 2014 survey in Quang Binh province that was financed by Scott Allen, an AP Board member. Once a family is selected by AEPD, we post their profile on these pages and seek funding for a cow or another form of sustainable investment. An AEPD outreach worker then helps the family to prepare a business plan and follows up with regular visits. AP also follows up through staff visits, and by sending a Peace Fellow to volunteer at AEPD during the summer. Peace Fellow Ai Hoang (2016) and her family funded the first four families listed below, while Jacob Cohn (2017) funded the family of Mrs. Anh. We are deeply grateful for their support.

The long-term goal of this project is to produce a model of sustained support for Agent Orange families that could be used on a much larger scale. This is happening in three ways. First, AEPD is providing community support and admitting caregivers to its highly successful self-help groups. Second, we are finding that a cow can produce a serious income that can even cover medical costs. Third, in taking possession of a cow, the families are required to develop a business plan with help from an AEPD outreach worker. In time, we hope, this will make them more credit-worthy, and open the door to agricultural credit and other government support. This is particularly important for third generation victims of Agent Orange and veterans who joined up after the war ended – neither of whom qualify for government compensation. 

Meet Some of Our Beneficiaries

Ms. Vo Thi Toa and Her Sons

Ms. Vo Thi Toa’s husband joined the army before 1975 which led to his exposure to Agent Orange. In 2005 he died of stomach cancer.  Three of their six children are affected by Agent Orange. In 2016 Ms. Toa’s son Long began to have epilepsy symptoms and she was forced to sell her cow to cover his care, as he receives no Agent Orange compensation. Her oldest son Lam (left) is confined to his bed. We are seeking funds to buy Ms. Toa a cow and a calf.  Read their full story here.

Nguyen Ngoc Thin, Cao Thi Loan and Their Two Sons

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thin joined the Vietnamese army in 1984, nine years after the end of the war. That did not prevent him from being exposed to Agent Orange and passing it on to his five children. Only two of his sons remain alive and both have cerebral palsy. The oldest, Nguyen Van Lan, 30, (left) lives tightly wrapped in a hammock because he does not have physical control of his body. Since Mr. Thin was not a soldier during the war, his children do not receive compensation for being Agent Orange victims. Read their full story here.

Funded

Nguyen Huu Phuc, Nguyen Thi Thanh, and Their Family

Mr. Nguyen Huu Phuc and his wife, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh, live in the Tuyen Hoa district of the Quang Binh province with their son, Nguyen Van Tam, and daughter, Nguyen Thi Nam. The couple had eight children, five of which are affected by Agent Orange exposure. Of these five, Tam, Nam, and Nguyen The Bay are the surviving three. Read their full story here.

Funded

Duong Thi Hue and Her Daughters

Mrs. Duong Thi Hue and her husband were soldiers during the Vietnam war where both were exposed to Agent Orange. Five of their six children are affected by Agent Orange. Their two daughters, Duong Thi Binh, 28, and Duong Thi Hong Thanh, 26, were born without symptoms but eventually became violent and a threat to the family. Mrs. Hue had to lock them at the back of the house, where they have been chained up for the past 5 years. AP has raised money to purchase a cow for this family (left). Read Mrs. Hue’s story here. 

Funded

#5 2Phan That and His Family

Phan That, left, was exposed to Agent Orange during the war and has passed dioxin poisoning to his son, Pham Van Linh, 31, and his daughter Pham Thi Linh, 37. Adding to Mr That’s troubles, the family house is built on low-lying land and is regularly flooded by storms which are growing more severe because of climate change. AP has raised $2,000 for this family. Read more.

Funded

 

maitholoandson1000Mai Thi Loi and Her Sons

Mai Thi Loi has been struggling since her husband died in 1989 and left her with a legacy of Agent Orange. Three sons are deeply affected. Nguyen Van Kien, 31, the oldest, is so disturbed that he flies into a rage and breaks up the house if left alone. His desperate mother had no option but to chain him up. In 2016, his younger brother also had to be constrained. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read our news bulletin and read more about this family here.

Funded

20186066318_e3a0a830a0_bPham Thi Do and Her Family

Pham Thi Do feeds her daughter Luyen, one of five children in this family whose lives have been ruined by Agent Orange. Luyen was born in 1992 with cerebral palsy and has been bed-ridden ever since. Her mother says that on stormy days Luyen presses her nails into her hands so hard that they cut her palms. AP has raised $1,435 for this family. Read more about this family here.

Funded

 

Le Thanh duc and his family1000Le Than Duc, Ho Thi Hong, and Their Three Daughters

Mr. Duc was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Army and passed the poison to his three daughters, who are virtually paralyzed. The couple suffered more heartbreak in 2014 when their youngest son was killed in a motor accident. Yet, when AP visited in 2015, 2016 and 2017 Mr. Duc was undaunted. Helped by AEPD, he has launched two small businesses and appeared on television as an advocate. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read more about the family here.

Funded

#9 5Le Van Dung, Dang Thi Miet, and Their Missing Children

Le Van Dung and his wife Dang Thi Miet have produced thirteen children and lost twelve to Agent Orange. One child lived for eight months and the couple hoped she would survive, but it was not to be. Their thirteenth child, Li Thi Ngoc Thuy, has severe symptoms. One of Li’s daughters, Le Thi Phuong Thao, has problems with her eyes that are linked to Agent Orange, but the government does not compensate third generation victims. AP has raised $1500 for this family. Read more about this family here.

Funded

#3 6Tran Thi Thao, Ngo Gia Hue, and Their Three Daughters

Tran Thi Tao feeds her daughter Ngo Thi Thanh Nhan, 24. Nhan is one of three daughters in this family who are afflicted by dwarfism as a result of Agent Orange. She has never spoken and – according to her parents – can do little except eat and sleep. Nhan cannot even use a toilet and her bowel movements are irregular. Her parents do what they can by pumping water into her rectum. They hope to take her to see a specialist to fix the problem, but understand that this would be very expensive. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read more about this family here.
Funded

#6 2Duong Thi An and Her Children

Three of Mrs. An’s children have been severely affected by Agent Orange. She is pictured here with her second son, Huong, who lost his right eye at the age of nine and is losing the sight of his second eye; and her daughter Hoa, now 35, who was born with Down syndrome. 2017 AP Peace Fellow Jacob Cohn raised $1,500 for the family and visited them twice in the summer of 2017. He writes: “It was great to see our work and everyone’s generosity pay off!” Read Jacob’s report on this family.

Funded

Background

Background

Seth McIntyre 1000

Seth McIntyre, center, a graduate student at Brandeis University. helped AEPD organize the first-ever needs assessment of 500 Agent Orange victims in Quang Binh province.

The Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disability (AEPD), AP’s partner in Vietnam, has worked with survivors of Agent Orange (AO) in Quang Binh Province for several years. Several Peace Fellows who have served at AEPD have also visited survivors and been inspired by their resilience. They included Simon Klatschi (2010), who profiled Mrs. Nguyen Thi My Hue, with her beautiful singing voice; and Kelly Howell, who was the first meet the redoubtable Le Thanh Duc and the Phan siblings.

In 2014, AP and AEPD asked Peace Fellow Seth McIntyre to coordinate a questionnaire of 500 families that were receiving compensation from the government for Agent Orange in the province of Quang Binh. The survey came to an important conclusion: while the needs of victims are great, the burden of Agent Orange falls most heavily on the caregivers who have to support damaged children while also struggling to provide for the whole family. Many are aging widows.

As a result, in 2015 AEPD and AP decided to focus on the special needs of caregivers. AEPD identified eleven severely-affected families in Quang Binh and arranged for Peace Fellow Armando Gallardo and Iain Guest from AP to visit each family in the company of an AEPD Outreach Worker. Armando and Iain produced the profiles and photos on these pages, and AP began seeking funds for each family, as their profile was posted. AEPD outreach workers drew up a modest budget based on the needs of caregivers.

Our 2016 Peace Fellow Ai Hoang helped AEPD to manage the program through to the end of 2016 – and raised funds for three families through online appeals. Ai’s father visited AEPD during a trip to Vietnam and completed the funding of Le Tien Dung and his wife, who lost 12 children to Agent Orange. This rounded off a remarkable gesture of reconciliation by Ai’s family, which had left Vietnam years earlier as refugees.

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Victims: Dioxin poisoning stole up on Tuan in his mid-teens. Prevented from attending school by his illness, Tuan made model buildings from chopsticks. until hemophilia put him back in the hospital in 2017.  Read his story here.

In 2017, the torch passed to Peace fellow Jacob Cohn. Jacob visited the four families that had received funding and updated their profiles. He also met with the family of Thanh Thi Thao, which has been funded from AP’s core program and started his own online appeal for a sixth family, Duong Thi An, and her three children. Jacob reached his target by the end of July and accompanied AEPD outreach workers when they went to help the family draw up a business plan. Jacob also helped AP launch an appeal for the family of Phan That battered by Agent Orange and by climate change.

These dedicated Peace Fellows have helped AEPD and AP to develop an entirely new approach towards the challenge of Agent Orange. We will remain focused on the needs of individual caregivers, and bring their story alive. With AEPD’s help, we will continue to identify new families in need and raise modest amounts of money for them. At the same time, we will also check up regularly on past beneficiaries and do what we can to help – knowing that it will be downhill for most of them, as the parents grow older and the children gradually deteriorate.

Le Thanh Duc and outreach worker

Peer Support: AEPD outreach workers like Nguyen Van Thuan (left) were wounded during the war. This helps them to better understand the needs of AO survivors.

This approach differs from that of other much larger AO programs which seek to clean up “hot spots” that were heavily sprayed or to strengthen medical systems. We want people to identify with these families on a human level, and to invest in them.

Given the immensity of the Agent Orange tragedy – 3 million Vietnamese affected – ours is a tiny contribution. But by helping these families we also strengthen AEPD’s outreach workers who were themselves wounded in war and now provide indispensable peer support to these damaged families These remarkable people are featured later in these pages and their unique model of peer support needs to be made more widely available. We hope this campaign will help.

Finally, there is the personal impact on us all of working in close quarters with these family members. This is remarkably humbling and we emerge better people for it.

 

Challenge

Challenge

Leaking_Agent_Orange_Drums_in_Vietnam

The challenge: Dioxin from Agent Orange has poisoned up to 3 million Vietnamese and placed a heavy burden on caregivers. Read the reports from the Aspen Institute.

Between 1960 and 1972 US planes dropped 11.4 million gallons of dioxin-laden Agent Orange (AO) over the south of Vietnam and parts of Laos and Cambodia, at a level of concentration many times greater than that recommended for commercial use.

The dioxin entered the food chain, triggering a wide array of medical conditions and cancers in Vietnamese and American service-members and their families. The Vietnamese Red Cross has estimated that over 3 million Vietnamese are affected.

Rachel design2Agent Orange has long complicated relations between the governments of the US and Vietnam. In 2007, advocates from Vietnam and the US laid the basis for a less recriminatory approach by establishing the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin. Presidents Obama and Truong Tan Sang built on this by developing a new “comprehensive partnershipin July 2013 that included a commitment to clean up heavily sprayed “hot spots,” including the former airports of Da Nang and Bien Hoa.

While any action was welcome, the AEPD in Vietnam, felt that this approach focused too much on the environment and too little on people. The policy also sidestepped the real problem: veterans who had been exposed to spraying in the hot spots had carried the poison back to their families across Vietnam. This crisis was nationwide.

Senator Patrick Leahy took the lead in pushing for a broader policy and in 2015 the Senate released $20 million to USAID to support several pilot programs in Vietnam. The funds were divided between southern provinces (Dong Nai, Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc, and Binh Dinh) and the central and northern provinces (Quang Nam, Hue, and Thai Binh). In addition, USAID sought to make medical services more accessible to victims of Agent Orange.

While this expansion was welcome, it still focuses largely on provinces that were heavily sprayed. For example, Quang Binh (which was lightly sprayed – 3,800 gallons) was omitted, even though a 2013 survey by AEPD and the government found that 5,266 AO victims were living in the province.

The USAID approach also focuses mainly on the needs of victims. While the medical needs are great, AEPD argues that the burden falls on the entire family, particularly the caregivers. This emerged from a 2015 survey conducted by AEPD and AP. As veterans die off, the burden of caring for their severely affected children falls on aging widows.

As AEPD and AP have dug deeper into the tragedy of AO, other problems have emerged. The Vietnamese government compensates AO victims, but the amounts are often inconsistent and insufficient. Furthermore, third generation victims (grandchildren) do not qualify.

When they met in September 2015 to consider the results of the AEPD/AP survey in Quang Binh, several members of the survey team expressed the hope that these policy issues could be raised with the central government.

 

Response

Response

In touch again: Le Quoc Huong (left) an Agent Orange victim, first met Luong Thanh Hoai (right), at an eye hospital in Hanoi in 1988. Today, Mr Hoai advises Luong’s family as an AEPD outreach worker.

In touch again: Le Quoc Huong (left) an Agent Orange victim, first met Luong Thanh Hoai (right), at an eye hospital in Hanoi in 1988. Today, Mr. Hoai advises Luong’s family as an AEPD outreach worker.

AEPD’s Agent Orange campaign rests on the sturdy shoulders of outreach workers who have themselves recovered from the wounds of war and dedicated themselves to helping others.

AP Fellows have got to know these remarkable individuals well through the years. In 2010, Peace Fellow Simon Klantschi wrote a glowing blog on Luong Thanh Hoai, who lost his left arm and right eye during the war against China in 1998. A man of rare determination and talent, Luong Thanh Hoai, won a silver medal in the javelin and discus at national games. He and Simon became close friends.

Five years later, Luong Thanh Hoai was back on the front lines, helping to identify Agent Orange families in the district of Le Thuy, which he covers for AEPD. In a strange twist, he also met an old acquaintance while introducing AP to the family of Mrs. Duong Thi An, one of the caregivers profiled on these pages. Mrs. An’s second son, Le Quoc Huong, appears to have lost his eyesight to Agent Orange. He began to encounter problems with his eyes around the age of ten and receives Agent Orange compensation from the government. After several operations, he is almost blind.

Veterans together: Le Thanh Duc, left, an Agent Orange victim, gets sage advice from Outreach Worker Nguyen Van Thuan

Veterans together: Le Thanh Duc, left, an Agent Orange victim, gets sage advice from Outreach Worker Nguyen Van Thuan

As fate would have it, Le Quoc Huong passed through the eye hospital in Hanoi in 1988, around the same time that Luong Thanh Hoai, the AEPD outreach worker, was brought in for an emergency eye operation after being wounded. They were then reunited when Mr. Hoai started working in the district in 2013. This helps to calm the younger man. “After talking with me the son is more confident,” says Mr. Hoai. ” He is not afraid to talk to strangers. Also, we help to break down the barriers with their neighbors.”

We saw the same chemistry at work when Nguyen Van Thuan, another AEPD outreach worker, took us to meet AO families in Bo Trach district. Mr. Thuan lost an arm and most of his second hand to unexploded ordnance (UXO) and had only recently begun to work with Agent Orange families. As a former veteran himself, he expressed admiration for the families: “To suffer from dioxin poisoning is a mark of courage. It means you fought bravely in the war,” he says.  One of his clients, Le Thanh Duc, who is struggling to care for three severely disabled daughters and a depressed wife, listened carefully as his fellow veteran gave him advice on how to sell his fish sauce (photo).

Outreach Worker Loan Van Thai

Outreach Worker Loan Van Thai

Loan Van Thai, a third AEPD outreach worker who helps Agent Orange families, had a terrible war. He lost his right hand and suffered severe wounds in a leg after being shot at from the air. He then spent 6 years in a Hanoi hospital while doctors tried to save his leg, and emerged with one leg significantly shorter than the other.

A true survivor, Mr. Thai feels that he is stronger because of his ordeal, and better able to provide peer support to the Agent Orange families.  “Some victims won’t talk to normal people,” he says. “There are special ways to communicate with people with disabilities. To encourage them I tell them my story, about the time I had to be brave. I can also help them to get special medical care.” When his own spirits start to flag, Mr. Thai goes fishing.

Part business advisors and part personal counselors, these outreach workers serve as a bridge between the Agent Orange families and government services. We hope that this campaign will help to cover their costs and enable AEPD to recruit more like them.

Results

Results

Mrs An 4

 

August 14, 2017: Mrs. An receives a buffalo and calf.

Duong Thi An is the sixth Agent Orange caregiver to benefit from an AP appeal. She is seen here getting the good news from Peace Fellow Jacob Cohn, who is volunteering at AEPD as a Peace Fellow. Jacob has raised $1,500 for Mrs. An. This will pay for a buffalo and calf, which will allow Mrs. An – a widow – to earn a steady income and start paying the costs of eye surgery for her second son, Huong. Click here for the family profile.

 

November 1, 2016: Le Thanh Duc buys chickens!

Le Than Duc, below, is the third Agent Orange caregiver to receive funds through the AP appeal. He plans to raise three pigs and 80 chickens in his backyard, where he can also keep an eye on this three daughters. Chickens are in high demand and he could earn $1,400 a year if they all stay healthy. Mr. Duc has received loans from AEPD in the past to produce fish sauce. But that business collapsed in April 2016 after a steel company poisoned the sea and killed fish. He is optimistic about his chickens.

 

September 29, 2016: Mai Thi Loi and her new buffalo.

Below: Mai Thi Loi’s struggle with Agent Orange has touched many friends of AP, who have given generously to an appeal by Peace Fellow Ai Hoang. AEPD and Mai Thi Loi have used the funds to purchase a buffalo, named Opportunity seen here with Mai Thi Loi and her youngest son Hung. Mai Thi Loi rents the animal out for farm work and after a month she had already doubled her income. As Ai Hoang points out in this blog this will ease Mai Thi Loi’s money worries. But it does not resolve her deeper worry – that her two other sons are chained up to restrain their rage.

September 1, 2016: The Xoan family gets a buffalo!

 Below: The first of ten Agent Orange families supported by AEPD and AP receives a buffalo to help Mrs. Pham Thi Doc and her husband Nguyen Van Xoan work their land and produce rice. The animal was bought with funds raised by Peace Fellow Ai Hoang. Outreach workers from the AEPD will advise the family on their investment. Read this report by Peace Fellow Ai Hoang, who raised funds for the family.

 

ai and le thanh ducsmall

June, 2016: AP raises $3,300 for Agent Orange caregivers.

 Peace Fellow Ai Hoang launches an appeal on Global Giving to raise funds for the ten Agent Orange caregivers identified by AP and AEPD in 2015. Ai will spend five months in Vietnam working at the AEPD. She is seen here with Le Thanh Duc, whose three daughters have been paralyzed by dioxin poisoning. Le Thanh Duc has suffered one disaster after another but remains upbeat and optimistic. He is seen as hard working and responsible by AEPD – in short as a good investment.

 

Iain and Xioan 1000

September 2015: Agent Orange caregivers to get relief.

 AEPD and AP commit to supporting eleven of the 500 Quang Binh families surveyed in 2014. A team from AP and AEPD visits the families and hears how a grant would ease pressure on caregivers. Each family draws up a budget with help from AEPD. Left: Iain Guest from AP is seen with Nguyen Van Tuan, the youngest son of Pham Thi Do and her husband Nguyen Van Xoan. Tuan, a talented craftsman, makes a model of Hue University from popsicle sticks which now sits in the AP office.

 

Seth McIntyre 1000

 

September 2015: Agent Orange caregivers to get relief.

 AEPD and AP commit to supporting eleven of the 500 Quang Binh families surveyed in 2014. A team from AP and AEPD visits the families and hears how a grant would ease pressure on caregivers. Each family draws up a budget with help from AEPD. Left: Iain Guest from AP is seen with Nguyen Van Tuan, the youngest son of Pham Thi Do and her husband Nguyen Van Xoan. Tuan, a talented craftsman, makes a model of Hue University from popsicle sticks which now sits in the AP office.

 

Profiles

Profiles

Meet Some of Our Beneficiaries in the Communities within Vietnam

Ms. Vo Thi Toa and Her Sons

>Ms. Vo Thi Toa’s husband joined the army before 1975 which led to his exposure to Agent Orange. In 2005 he died of stomach cancer.  Three of their six children are affected by Agent Orange. In 2016 Ms. Toa’s son Long began to have epilepsy symptoms and she was forced to sell her cow to cover his care, as he receives no Agent Orange compensation. Her oldest son Lam (left) is confined to his bed. Read Ms. Vo Thi Toa and her families story here. 

 

Nguyen Ngoc Thin, Cao Thi Loan and Their Two Sons

Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thin joined the Vietnamese army in 1984, nine years after the end of the war. That did not prevent him from being exposed to Agent Orange and passing it on to his five children. Only two of his sons remain alive and both have cerebral palsy. The oldest, Nguyen Van Lan, 30, (left) lives tightly wrapped in a hammock because he does not have physical control of his body. Since Mr. Thin was not a soldier during the war, his children do not receive compensation for being Agent Orange victims. Read their full story here.

 

Nguyen Huu Phuc, Nguyen Thi Thanh, and Their Family

Mr. Nguyen Huu Phuc and his wife, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thanh, live in the Tuyen Hoa district of the Quang Binh province with their son, Nguyen Van Tam, and daughter, Nguyen Thi Nam. The couple had eight children, five of which are affected by Agent Orange exposure. Of these five, Tam, Nam, and Nguyen The Bay are the surviving three. Read their full story here.

 

Duong Thi Hue and Her Daughters

Mrs. Duong Thi Hue and her husband were soldiers during the Vietnam war where both were exposed to Agent Orange. Five of their six children are affected by Agent Orange. Their two daughters, Duong Thi Binh, 28, and Duong Thi Hong Thanh, 26, were born without symptoms but eventually became violent and a threat to the family. Mrs. Hue had to lock them at the back of the house, where they have been chained up for the past 5 years. AP has raised money to purchase a cow for this family (left). Read Mrs. Hue’s story here. 

 

#5 2Phan That and His Family

Phan That, left, was exposed to Agent Orange during the war and has passed dioxin poisoning to his son, Pham Van Linh, 31, and his daughter Pham Thi Linh, 37. Adding to Mr That’s troubles, the family house is built on low-lying land and is regularly flooded by storms which are growing more severe because of climate change. AP has raised $2,000 for this family. Read more.

 

 

maitholoandson1000Mai Thi Loi and Her Sons

Mai Thi Loi has been struggling since her husband died in 1989 and left her with a legacy of Agent Orange. Three sons are deeply affected. Nguyen Van Kien, 31, the oldest, is so disturbed that he flies into a rage and breaks up the house if left alone. His desperate mother had no option but to chain him up. In 2016, his younger brother also had to be constrained. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read our news bulletin and read more about this family here.

 

20186066318_e3a0a830a0_bPham Thi Do and Her Family

Pham Thi Do feeds her daughter Luyen, one of five children in this family whose lives have been ruined by Agent Orange. Luyen was born in 1992 with cerebral palsy and has been bed-ridden ever since. Her mother says that on stormy days Luyen presses her nails into her hands so hard that they cut her palms. AP has raised $1,435 for this family. Read more about this family here.

 

 

Le Thanh duc and his family1000Le Than Duc, Ho Thi Hong, and Their Three Daughters

Mr. Duc was exposed to Agent Orange while serving in the Army and passed the poison to his three daughters, who are virtually paralyzed. The couple suffered more heartbreak in 2014 when their youngest son was killed in a motor accident. Yet, when AP visited in 2015, 2016 and 2017 Mr. Duc was undaunted. Helped by AEPD, he has launched two small businesses and appeared on television as an advocate. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read more about the family here.

 

#9 5Le Van Dung, Dang Thi Miet, and Their Missing Children

Le Van Dung and his wife Dang Thi Miet have produced thirteen children and lost twelve to Agent Orange. One child lived for eight months and the couple hoped she would survive, but it was not to be. Their thirteenth child, Li Thi Ngoc Thuy, has severe symptoms. One of Li’s daughters, Le Thi Phuong Thao, has problems with her eyes that are linked to Agent Orange, but the government does not compensate third generation victims. AP has raised $1500 for this family. Read more about this family here.

 

#3 6Tran Thi Thao, Ngo Gia Hue, and Their Three Daughters

Tran Thi Tao feeds her daughter Ngo Thi Thanh Nhan, 24. Nhan is one of three daughters in this family who are afflicted by dwarfism as a result of Agent Orange. She has never spoken and – according to her parents – can do little except eat and sleep. Nhan cannot even use a toilet and her bowel movements are irregular. Her parents do what they can by pumping water into her rectum. They hope to take her to see a specialist to fix the problem, but understand that this would be very expensive. AP has raised $1,500 for this family. Read more about this family here.

#6 2Duong Thi An and Her Children

Three of Mrs. An’s children have been severely affected by Agent Orange. She is pictured here with her second son, Huong, who lost his right eye at the age of nine and is losing the sight of his second eye; and her daughter Hoa, now 35, who was born with Down syndrome. 2017 AP Peace Fellow Jacob Cohn raised $1,500 for the family and visited them twice in the summer of 2017. He writes: “It was great to see our work and everyone’s generosity pay off!” Read Jacob’s report on this family.

 

Supporters

Supporters

With many thanks to…

2016 Supporters:

Paulo Dias, Vivian Nguyen, Andy Ng, Steven Grover, Naresh Grover, Glenn Ruga, Rachael Hughen, Rita Lo, Kay Scanlan, Amanda Reis, Hannah Chi, Oliver Grover, Nguyen Tran, Kelly Nguyen, Christina Breneman, Sheri Langen, Alan Collins, Julie Prince, Mai Nguyen, Andrew A MacGregor, Cordellia Le, Margaret Brennan, Xianghui Zhou, Bibhu Joshi, Alan Miranda, Reyhane Youssefi, Mrinal Kachhara, Edegard Santos, Tim Riley, White & Case, Ting-TIng Kao, Keith Schomig, Darlene Smallman, Susan Bernstein, Long Van, Hunter Gatewood, Syed Ibrahim Habeeb Mohamed, Willie Loza, Ductoan Nguyen, Cindy Troung, Lynn Pham, and Linda Huynh

2017 Supporters:

Mai T Nguyen, Bethany Gardner, Nguyen Hoang Hieu, Chris Peluso, Patricia Bliss-Guest, Thu Nguyen, Molly Smyrl, Richard Hall, Cheryl Drew, Kirsten Drew, Langston Alexander, Roger Cohn, Mei L Klein, Alessandro Ciccolo, Alison Stalker, Cyrus Krohn, Mary Passeri, Carol Pogash, Arthur Desloges, Barbara Moser, Jill and Joel Hurwitz, Alice Markowitz, Ellen Farnham, Neal and Anne Morris, Brooke Ashland, Gabriel Cohn, Ivana Wong¸ Jim Hutchins, Cheri Cohn, Jordan Dreilinger, Jefferson Seth McIntyre, Bradley J. Miskell, Roger Cohn, Seth Cohn, Carter Banker, Kimberly Chang, Barbara Katz Hinden, Victoria Shoemaker, Emily Gannam, and Natalie Balents

2018 Supporters:

Nathalie Huguet, Marcela de Campos, Scott Allen, Ashley Westrup, Seanin Van Rooy, Nai Le, Thomas Hilde, Alyssa Bertoni, Vinh Chau, Mei L. Klein, Ngoc Dinh, Cindy Frick, Scarlett Chidgey, Saleh Alromaihi, and Nguyen Tran

Ai at fundraiser

Before Ai Hoang left to serve as a Peace Fellow in Vietnam in June 2016, her family organized an event for her at her father’s church in California. The event raised a small amount of money and encouraged Ai to launch no fewer than three online appeals, which raised $4,500 for three Agent Orange families. Her father later visited Vietnam and donated to a fourth family and to the AEPD. Our heartfelt thanks to this remarkable family.

 

Resources

Resources

AP News Bulletins 

Remembering Nguyen Van Tuan, 23, Victim of Agent Orange September 14, 2018

Horror and Heroism as Vietnamese Confront the Legacy of Agent Orange September 13, 2017

Cows and Courage Keep Agent Orange at Bay in Vietnam November 14, 2016

Peace Fellows to Tackle the Legacy of War and Disaster  June 9, 2015

Agent Orange Lives on in Vietnam, Poisoning Children and Ruining Lives September 2, 2014

Peace Fellows to Take on Agent Orange, War Rape and Plastic Pollution  June 6, 2014

Empowering Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh, Uganda and Vietnam August 16, 2011

 

Peace Fellow Blogs

 

Jacob fellow

Click here to see Jacob’s photos

Jacob Cohn’s Blog (2017)

Jacob wrote 17 thoughtful blogs during his ten weeks at the AEPD. His blogs describe his visits to the six families that have received funding through AP and describe his own feelings as a young American at viewing the lasting legacy of the Vietnam War. Jacob raised $1,500 for the family of Ms. Anh, seen in the photo and trained a volunteer, Dat, to manage the AEPD website. His blogs are a must-read for anyone interested in conflict.

“We haven’t really reckoned with Agent Orange as a society, but it’s not too late.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see Ai’s photos.

Ai Hoang’s Blog (2016)

Ai Hoang launches AP’s fundraising for four families

“As I finish my second week here of AEPD, I’m reminded once again that there are never any real winners in war. The losses are great on all sides and the consequences continue to affect generation and generation of innocents to come. So here I am, doing what I believe is best to assist with the healing process.”

See Armando’s photos by clicking here.

Armando Gallardo’s Blog (2015)

Armando visits the eleven families with Iain Guest from AP and produces strong photos and profiles that will be used by AP for web pages and appeals.

“When Mr. Dung first told us his story, it sounded as something that was coming from one of the many documentaries done about Agent Orange; His wife, who also helped during the war by building roads, had 13 children and out of all of them only 1 made it alive. The rest of them didn’t make it more than 8 months.”

Look at Jefferson’s photos by clicking here.

Seth McIntyre’s Blog (2014)

Fellow Seth McIntyre is hired by AP and AEPD to develop a questionnaire and organize a survey of 500 affected families. The costs of the survey are covered by Scott Allen, an AP Board member. Seth also produces several powerful profiles on veterans and their families which help to explain the compensation policy of the Vietnamese government. Seth’s superb photos of the veterans receive over 12,000 views.

“Luan asks me if I want to take pictures of the purple, cauterized scar running the length of his chest and another from his ankle to his upper thigh, his constant reminder of the wages of life. But this didn’t matter, at least, not now it doesn’t.”

Click here to see Kelly’s photos.

Kelly Howell’s Blog (2013)

Kelly Howell is the first Fellow to study the devastating impact of dioxin poisoning, particularly on the second generation. Kelly also introduces AP to the family of Le Thanh Duc.

“I met with several families who were affected by Agent Orange. Only in the last decade have people in the rural areas of Vietnam begun to hear about AO. Until then, they had no idea what was happening in some of the families there. Their stories were heart-rending yet hopeful, and I’d like you to meet some of the families that I met.”

Click here to see Jesse’s photos.

Jesse Cottrell’s Blog (2012)

Fellow Jesse Cottrell produces an excellent video on the three Phan siblings, who have built a thriving hairdressing business. Jesse’s video is tweeted by, among others, the actor Alec Baldwin.

“On the plane, I was seated next to an elderly Vietnamese woman, who threw me curious glances. Her eyes peered merrily at me over the top of the mask, and upon landing, she gave me a hearty high five. I thought to myself that she likely had memories of the wars here. Here I am, I thought, an American in post-war Vietnam, what will people think of me? Her high-five said to me, hey, welcome!, and I’ve encountered that same sentiment again and again, here in the quaint city of Dong Hoi.”

Simon 2010

Simon 2010

Simon Kläntschi’s Blog (2011)

Simon Klantschi, from Switzerland, is the first Fellow to meet with Agent Orange survivors. read his blog about the inspiring Mrs. Hue, who sells beer and wants to be an opera singer.

“Nguyen Thi My Hue was born disabled. She has a serious congenital malformation, is humpbacked and has experienced an abnormal growth of her body. Today, at the age of thirty, she is only tall like a ten-year-old child. Hue is a victim of Agent Orange. Hue begins her story with: ‘I was born unlucky,’ but her eyes are bright and she smiles.”

 

Advocacy Quilts

Vietnam Disability quilt 4x4

Peace Fellow Jesse Cottrell (2011) helps two members of AEPD who were injured during the Vietnam War to describe the impact of climate change on persons with disability. Their delicate squares are made from chiffon and silk and are assembled in the US by quilter Teresa Orr to be shown against the light. The Vietnam Disability Quilt has been widely shown at exhibitions in the US.

 

 

 

 

AEPD Youtube Videos