|War veteran Nguyen Van Minh and his son. (Photo: Thanh Hieu)
Nguyen Van Minh of the central province of Quang Tri was a volunteer soldier in Laos where he was infected with Agent Orange. His first son is over 20 years old but acts like a child as he suffered sequelae from the dioxin. Minh and his wife must take turns caring him from eating to sleeping.
Learning Minh’s dream of raising money to open a small-scale construction material facility to improve his living conditions, the provincial VAVA financed him US$430 to develop his business.
“Thanks to the government and VAVA, we have had some capital to build a business. Improved economic conditions have enabled our children to go to school. I hope that the entire society will join efforts to help AO victims like us escape poverty,” Minh said.
After being infected with AO dioxin with 80% disability, all daily activities of Duong Thi Binh in Krong Buk district, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, depend on her sister. Without employment, the two women used to live on a small vegetable garden. Thanks to support from the district’s VAVA and authorities, they were given a house of gratitude in 2018.
Duong Thi Lan, whose younger sister is an AO/dioxin victim, looks after the cow given by Krong Buk district’s VAVA. (Photo: Nam Trang)
Duong Thi Lan, Binh’s sister, said they have also been given a cow as a means of subsistence.
“We used to live in a low-roofed house. The spacious house of gratitude provides the two of us a place to shelter from the sun and rain. The district administration has also supported us with a savings book and a breeding cow which is now pregnant,” said Lan.
Minh and Binh are two of the millions of AO/dioxin victims nationwide to have been supported by the VAVA and society over the years both materially and spiritually.
Le Van Giang, vice chairman of an association that supports disadvantaged people and children in Quang Tri, said that the organization has paid special attention to vocational training for AO victims.
“We try to choose jobs or production models suitable to their capacity, health conditions, and knowledge. Every year, we present gifts for extremely poor AO victims and finance them to develop means of subsistence,” Giang.
Ngo Song Hao, President of the VAVA of Dak Lak province, emphasised that the association will continue to check out AO victims with extremely difficult situations to provide timely support and increase communications to raise people’s awareness of their responsibility in helping AO victims.
More than 4.8 million people in Vietnam have been exposed to Agent Orange/dioxin sprayed by the US military during war time and over 3 million of them have been suffering from deadly diseases.