Ai Hoang (Vietnam)

Ai Hoang

Ai Hoang was born in Vietnam and raised in Southern California. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2013 with a BA in Sociology. After working for two years as a Supplemental Education Services Tutor and a Development Associate for the Boys & Girls Clubs, Ai returned to graduate school to pursue a Masters of Public Health degree from the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. As a student in the Population & Health Department, she is specially interested in working to empower underserved families globally. Upon returning from her fellowship, Ai reflects that "I'm very grateful for the opportunity that AEPD and the families affected by Agent Orange have afforded me this past year. They welcomed me into their home with open arms and shared amazing stories. They helped me understand the issue of Agent Orange on such a personal level and made this experience all the more memorable."

02 Nov

Washed Away

Flooding in Quang Binh. PC: The Guardian

I woke up on Friday morning 10/14 a little disoriented. Preoccupied with the giant mosquito bite that had taken over my right eyelid, I drafted an email to my Director, letting her know I would be working from home that day. I had my headphones in and was lost in thought, busy proofreading a proposal. […]

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Posted Nov 02, 2016

16 Oct

Mr. Truong Minh Hoc

Mr. Truong Minh Hoc

Mr. Hoc was the first person I met in AEPD. As I fidgeted with the straps of my backpack that Monday morning, I came face to face with a kind, older man. He smiled as I tried to introduce myself in my best formal “I’m-a-local” Vietnamese. Mr. Hoc was on his way out while accompanying […]

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Posted Oct 16, 2016

09 Oct

Mr. Luong Thanh Hoai

Mr. Hoai

Mr. Luong Thanh Hoai is the first outreach worker to accompany me on my visits to the ten families affected by Agent Orange from Quang Binh. He’s a tall and put-together man, with a confident walk and an easy smile. Mr. Hoai has been working with AEPD (formerly known as LSN-V) for ten years now. […]

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Posted Oct 09, 2016

04 Oct

Mr. Nguyen Van Thuan

Mr. Thuan & Ms. Men

Mr. Luu’s long-term service with AEPD is incredibly remarkable, thirteen years serving some of the most vulnerable and underprivileged people in Vietnam. Mr. Nguyen Van Thuan is another outreach worker on AEPD’s team showing the same level of determination and commitment as Mr. Luu to doing good. To hear Mr. Thuan tells it, he became […]

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Posted Oct 04, 2016

29 Sep

Mr. Nguyen Van Luu

With their team of five outreach workers who are all persons with disabilities (PWDs), AEPD is able to have a greater impact on the population that they serve. How? Well, the biggest part of it is trust. The community trusts these outreach workers and relies on them as a source of information. Outreach workers do […]

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Posted Sep 29, 2016

28 Sep

Isolated Corners of Quang Binh

Mrs. Mai Thi Loi left quite an impression on me the last time we met. I will always remember standing next to her by the doorway as she gripped my hands, her voice breaking, sentences truncated by sobs. I had felt hopeless then, unsure of how/what I could do to help her. Mr. Hoc, an […]

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Posted Sep 28, 2016

07 Sep

Mission Accomplished!

Since we received the fund raised through our first Global Giving campaign, AEPD and I have been working to get the funding out to Mrs. Do, Mr. Xoan and their family. We’ve run into a number of roadblocks along the way. When I first made the trip out to see them, Mr. Thuan, the AEPD […]

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Posted Sep 07, 2016

10 Aug

Meeting the Last Three Families

After heading out from Mai Thi Loi’s home (read my blogpost here), I started remembering the true mission of my visits that day. While it was really important for me to gather as much information about the families as possible, it was also equally important that I stop and listen so that I can process and […]

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Posted Aug 10, 2016

22 Jul

The Continuing Tragedy of Mai Thi Lo and her Family

Mai Thi Loi & her oldest son Kien

As I started out my second day in the field, I must confess I was getting quite wrapped up in the logistical details of figuring out how and when I must get the business plan completed for each family. You see, I love checklists and crossing things off. So naturally, my mind was fully racing […]

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Posted Jul 22, 2016

19 Jul

Visiting Six Agent Orange Families

Last Wednesday, I headed out on the road with Mr. Hoai, an AEPD outreach worker, and a staff member to visit the ten families AP & AEPD are working with this year. I was ready to get started after hearing so much about them all. We headed first to Le Thuy District, located an hour […]

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Posted Jul 19, 2016

04 Jul


"Please tell me how your life has been impacted by war."

“Please tell me how your life has been impacted by war.” I distinctively remember sitting in a small classroom my senior year of college with about twenty other students, being asked this question as our icebreaker. The theme of the course was Gender & Militarization. Normally, I struggle with icebreakers. It’s a lot of pressure […]

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Posted Jul 04, 2016

29 Jun

What’s In a Song?

  We met Mrs. Huong and her husband after a busy day on the road. Mrs. Huong is a tailor, trained by AEPD. She was born with her disability while her husband, Mr. Nam, lost his arm during a work accident. The couple met while Mrs. Huong was rehearsing for a singing competition organized by […]

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Posted Jun 29, 2016

25 Jun

Back to the Start

Family. Crowds. Noise. Traffic. Motorbikes. Mangosteen. Tangled electric lines. Oh, and one can never forget to mention the humidity or the heat. That heat *insert many fire emojis here*. In all seriousness, these are a few of the things that I’m reminded of when I think of Vietnam, or specifically, Saigon. I think of the […]

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Posted Jun 25, 2016

25 May

Peace Fellowship Training: A Week of Firsts

It was a cold and dreary day that Sunday when I first arrived in DC to prepare for our fellowship training week with the Advocacy Project. I had seen the schedule beforehand and was fairly certain I was in for a jam-packed week, a week full of firsts. To be completely honest, I had no […]

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Posted May 25, 2016





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