Eight members of the project “Restore the Environment and Neutralize the Effects of War – RENEW” are women.
“The women in our project can do whatever men can do. They are hard-working and careful. Each of us has a different task and the women have always fulfilled theirs,” said Le Xuan Tung of bomb squad 3 of project RENEW. Other male team members also admire their female colleagues, who are all in their twenties.
27-year-old Nguyen Thi Thuy, who has been involved in the project for 3 years, said that as a Quang Tri native, she has witnessed many tragic accidents caused by explosive remnants.
After graduating from university Thuy immediately applied for project RENEW. She is now in charge of the squad’s logistics and detonating cords.
Thuy said, “I was afraid of bombs and mines but when I began to work in RENEW I was given information about explosives and taught how to handle them. Because my parents were soldiers, they are well aware of the effects of unexploded ordnance on society and support what I’m doing.”
Thuy’s mobile bomb quad is in charge of the Cam Lo mountain district. Every day they have to walk approximately 10km through forests with heavy equipment on their back. They have to wake up early to prepare meals for the day.
“On-site workers like us have difficult travel but we’ve being doing our best. Male team members always encourage and support us,” Thuy noted.
Nguyen Thi Trang, the youngest member of the bomb and mine detection team, has been checking every centimeter of land for explosive remnants. After finding something suspicious with her metal detector, Trang quickly marks the place with a small flag before digging pinches of land with a small shovel.
Digging down 10cm, she finds a cluster bomb and because of its potential danger her team decided to destroy it on site.
Trang began to work for project RENEW after graduating from the Quang Tri Medical College two years ago. In addition to bomb and mine clearance, she is in charge of medical care for the team.
Trang shared, “I decided to get involved after seeing many injuries caused by bombs and mines left over from the war. I hope I can contribute something to my home province. I remember most clearly the first time I destroyed a shell. It was a huge one so the explosion was big even from a long distance.”
One third of the members of project RENEW are female, most of whom are engineers.
Communications and Development Manager Ngo Xuan Hien said Vietnamese women played an important role in the past struggle for national independence and are contributing significantly to overcoming the residual effects of the war.
“Female team members are industrious and have always fulfilled their tasks. Our project manager is female and she was the first Vietnamese woman to receive an International Mine Action Standards certification,” Hien added.
Over the years, female workers of project RENEW have traveled through every district in Quang Tri and have destroyed hundreds of thousands of explosive remnants.