Chi Vu

Chi Vu (Survivor Corps in Vietnam - LSN-V): Chi spent two years of her childhood in refugee camps in Malaysia and the Philippines, where she received an exceptional education in NGO schools. In the years since, she has worked on several community initiatives, which include teaching Vietnamese language to kids in Little Saigon. She graduated from Yale in 2005 with a BA in English and certification to teach English at the secondary level. At the time of her AP fellowship, Chi was pursuing a Master’s degree in international educational development at Teachers College, Columbia University. After her fellowship, Chi wrote: "This Fellowship has deepened my understanding of the kind of cooperation and teamwork that is needed to effectively operate a grassroots organization, to successfully work for a cause that not too many people are familiar with. LSN-V is special in that it works closely with individuals at all community levels, from survivors to government officials. From these close working relationships, I had to opportunity to learn about how LSN-V works on an operational level while forming interpersonal relationships at the same time."

Talking the language of landmines and disability rights

10 Jun

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction (thankfully shortened to the Mine Ban Treaty).

To me these UN agreements were just so many words, and since I wasn’t living in the world of landmines, it was hard to be passionate about international conventions far removed from day-to-day life. But this is where NGOs and advocacy groups come in, when they negotiate on behalf of individuals to ensure that governments keep their end of the deal to do everything they should to protect and uphold the essential freedoms of their citizens, according to the conventions those governments have signed and ratified.

So Vietnam signed the Conventions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007–a major step. Since then, Landmine Survivors Network-Vietnam (LSN-V), along with other advocacy groups in the country, has worked in a disability working group to try to get the Convention ratified. LSN-V also advocates for equal rights for landmine survivors and individuals living with disabilities in a positive way that doesn’t label them as charity cases or as superheroes, but as normal people trying to live their lives to the fullest. I like the wording of LSN-V’s mission, which says something to the effect of “we work to promote a society where people with disability, particularly landmine survivors and amputees, can fulfill their potential, help their families, and contribute to their community.”

That’s why I’m going to Vietnam this summer; that’s why I’ll work with and learn from the dedicated folks at LSN-V: to incorporate the vocabulary of rights into my everyday speech, to become familiar with these two UN conventions so that I can use them to further the work of LSN-V on the grassroots level. And as an AP Peace Fellow, I’ll help LSN-V distribute that information so that it can reach a broad, web-based audience.

It’s a dynamic time, as Vietnam moves towards middle-income nation status and international NGOs need to make way for local NGOs. It’ll be an adventure, and as soon as I get my bearings or a steady internet connection (whichever comes first), I’ll tell you about the 23-hour nonstop train ride from Saigon to Dong Hoi.

Posted By Chi Vu

Posted Jun 10th, 2008


  • Willow

    June 15, 2008


    Good luck on the train Chi! I am really excited to hear all about your travels and your work.

  • Chi

    June 15, 2008


    Willow, thank you for following the blog all the way in Ramallah! The work is picking up for both of us, I think.

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