Jesse Cottrell (Vietnam)


Jesse Cottrell

Jesse Alejandro Cottrell (Association for the Empowerment of People with Disabilities - AEPD): Jesse began his advocacy work in San Francisco, California, working for a number of youth empowerment organizations and programs, including Park Sessions, which he helped to establish. Jesse earned a BA in Literature and Music from Bennington College in 2006. After spending three years as a bandleader and songwriter in New York City, Jesse returned to non-profit work as Associate Director and Development Coordinator at Salem Art Works, a regional arts center in Upstate New York. He was pursuing a Master of International Affairs degree at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at the time of his fellowship. After his fellowship Jesse wrote: “My time in Vietnam completely altered my course of study at Columbia. As a consequence of the work I did with AEPD, my priorities shifted. My second year of classes at Columbia reflect that shift. Such a fundamental change in academic priorities reflects an experience that is as enriching as I could have hoped for."



02 Sep

QUILTER PROFILE: LONG NGRU

The members of the women’s group were not enthusiastic when the AEPD team and I first suggested that they quilt to share their life stories. They protested that they were not professional artists. That they’d never quilted before in their lives. That their products would be unpresentable. But they never expressed doubt about the value […]

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Posted Sep 02, 2012

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02 Sep

QUILTER PROFILE: CAO THI MEN

The following profiles a Vietnamese quilter and person with disabilities (PWD) who is a beneficiary of the Association for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD). To learn more about the quilt project, read my previous blog post or visitThe Advocacy Project. *** In 1973, six year old Cao Thi Men and her little sister […]

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Posted Sep 02, 2012

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19 Aug

AEPD PROFILE: PHAN VAN PHONG

When Phan Van Phong contracted a severe fever at age 1, doctors used powerful antibiotics to end his illness and save his life. Unfortunately, the allergic reaction he had to the antibiotics crippled him for life, making him reliant on a cane to walk. Soon afterward, his family’s poverty demanded that his parents leave Quang […]

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Posted Aug 19, 2012

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19 Aug

AEPD PROFILE: LE ANH TUAN

Le Anh Tuan believes his body was weak from birth. His mother died an hour after delivering him. He says that without her breast milk, his body never grew strong. His father left him to start a new family in Hanoi, leaving Mr. Le to grow up in the care of his grandmother. Mr. Le […]

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Posted Aug 19, 2012

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19 Aug

THE SIBLINGS PHAN

I met the Phan siblings while collecting content for a video on climate change in Quang Binh Province. The story of how they survived the lethal floods of 2010 will be included in the climate change video to be released soon. In the meantime, here is the story of how they live their lives:

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Posted Aug 19, 2012

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24 Jul

THE STORY OF NGUYEN THI CUC

Situated only 20 kilometers from what was the demilitarized zone during the American War, Quang Binh suffered more B-52 bombings than any other North Vietnamese province. The area’s lack of buildings older than 35 years testifies to the sweep of devastation inflicted by the US Army’s assault. There are almost no rebuilt buildings that locals […]

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Posted Jul 24, 2012

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04 Jul

BIOGAS IN QUANG BINH

When former North Vietnamese soldier Dao Thi Thuyen lost her leg during an American bombing raid in 1968, she considered her life ruined. The prospect of an agrarian life in Quang Binh countryside without a limb was bleak.   Ms. Dao Thi Thuyen, biogas beneficiary   Unable to afford purchasing heating oil, Ms. Thuyen spent […]

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Posted Jul 04, 2012

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25 Jun

DISASTER MANAGEMENT TRAINING IN QUANG BINH/ FAILURE IN RIO

“When the next big storm comes,” he said while pointing at the map of his commune, “these are the places that will be flooded and destroyed.” He pointed to other spots on the map. “These places will be safe from floods, so we must remember to go here when the water rises.”   Quang Ninh […]

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Posted Jun 25, 2012

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18 Jun

FIRST DAYS IN VIETNAM

Four days after arriving in Vietnam, my face hurts from excessive smiling. The people, the food, the physical beauty of this place overwhelm me. Even the prospect of perpetual sweat dripping down my brow doesn’t seem so bad, maybe because I have thick eyebrows.   Dong Hoi Dusk   More than any other reason, I’ve […]

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Posted Jun 18, 2012

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