Archive for December, 2010

Happy Holidays!


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Ah, the holidays. It’s that time of year again – a time to gather with friends and family and reflect on the previous year while making plans for the next… that and a time for lots of good food and candy!

We’ll be taking a short holiday ourselves so this is the last post you’ll see for a couple of weeks. But feel free to peruse the site and leave us a comment or question for when we return.

A special request: consider making a small donation to support the new Nam Dong Early Intervention Center in the rural Thua Thien Hue province. Early intervention helps young disabled children develop the skills and knowledge they will need to fulfill their potential. Give the gift of hope: support the new Nam Dong Early Intervention Center »

Happy holidays and best wishes for a great new year! Let’s make Agent Orange History in 2011!

- The Make Agent Orange History team.


UNICEF Photo of the Year spotlights Agent Orange legacy


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Ed Kashi's photo of 9-year old Ly.

Vietnam Reporting Project fellow and photojournalist Ed Kashi wins UNICEF’s photo of year for this beautiful photo of 9-year old Nguyen Thi Ly from Da Nang, Vietnam. Ly suffers from a congenital heart condition and facial deformity presumed to be associated with exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin.

Ed Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator dedicated to documenting the social and political issues that define our times. His images have been published and exhibited worldwide. Kashi traveled to Da Nang and Hanoi in July of 2010.

See more of Ed Kashi’s photos here.


Give the Gift of Hope: Support Early Intervention for Children Affected By Agent Orange




Early intervention – physical therapy and medical services for children with disabilities – can make a big difference in the lives of children affected by Agent Orange, especially for low-income and rural families.

The Nam Dong Early Intervention Center is a brand new facility opening in January 2011 in the rural Thua Thien Hue province. It is a project of the War Legacies Project, the Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children and other groups and individuals.

The facility has already been built but the project still needs help raising money to pay for operating expenses like teachers and supplies. Your contribution can make a BIG difference.

  • $100 will cover the salary of one teacher/therapist for a month.
  • $50 will cover the costs of early intervention for one child for a month.
  • $25 will cover the cost of a month of materials and supplies for the center.
  • $15 will cover the costs of a month of lunches and snacks for one of the children at the center.

This holiday season, give the gift of hope: support early intervention in Vietnam »

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Physical therapy room at the Nam Dong Early Intervention Center.


Indiana Hosts the First Make Agent Orange History Conference


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Sparked by the recent Common Cause Interfaith Delegation on Agent Orange – where faith leaders from across the world traveled to Vietnam and witnessed firsthand the legacy of Agent Orange – the first ever Make Agent Orange History conference was held in Indianapolis last October.

Two participants at the Make Agent Orange History conference.

The conference was co-hosted by The Muslim Alliance of Indiana, the Cold Spring Institute and Active Voice. The day was divided into three sections: a background on Agent Orange/dioxin by Susan Hammond, executive director of the War Legacies Project, perspectives from American veterans, and final remarks by Bob Edgar – president and CEO of Common Cause – who provided moral and religious perspectives on the consequences of Agent Orange/dioxin.

The day ended with an interactive session in which participants reflected on their experience and created a three-year plan to raise awareness and develop partnerships with people and organizations in Indiana.

In the words of Shariq Siddiqui, executive director of the Muslim Alliance of Indiana and a conference organizer: “This event was an important step in making sure that we do not forget our responsibility to people affected by Agent Orange. This conference provided us a way forward in a concrete way.”

Participants included students, academics, members of the Muslim Alliance, staff from legislative offices, and individuals from the community. The conference is intended to be the kick-off to a series of future events on Agent Orange/dioxin that will be taking place throughout the state of Indiana in the upcoming year. Check the Make Agent Orange History events page for updates.


Photo Report from the Front Lines: Agent Orange in Da Nang


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Vietnam Reporting Project fellow and photojournalist Catherine Karnow shares her photo report on the continuing impact of Agent Orange in Vietnam. In the report, Karnow profiles two families in Da Nang whose children are affected by Agent Orange. These children show hope and resilience in the face of challenging circumstances, but also highlight the grave impact that Agent Orange continues to have on these and similar families throughout Vietnam.

This clip and Karnow’s photos are also available on the Make Agent Orange History Multimedia page.


Give the Gift of Hope: Support Heart Surgery in Vietnam



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By purchasing a holiday gift like these colorful hand-woven baskets from the SPIRAL foundation, you can help forever change the lives of an affected family in Vietnam.

The holidays are a great time to give back, and for Vietnamese children born with heart defects associated with their exposure to Agent Orange, it doesn’t take much.

Life saving heart surgery for a child in need costs between $400 and $1200 dollars.

The SPIRAL Foundation – an acronym for Spinning Potential Into Resources And Love – has raised money for nearly 300 of these surgeries over the past 10 years by selling beautiful clothing, accessories and household items made by artisans in Vietnam and Nepal.

Between now and December 31st, the SPIRAL Foundation will donate 100% of proceeds to fund life-saving surgeries for Vietnamese children born with heart defects. All you have to do is use special promo code MAOH.

Buying instructions:

  1. Go to The Spiral Store.
  2. Immediately before placing your order, click “add” where it says “Note to seller: add“.
  3. Type in “MAOH”.
  4. Place your order.

Give the gift of hope: Support heart surgeries by shopping at the Spiral Foundation.


Celebrate International Day of Persons with Disabilities


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Disabilities range from the relatively manageable to the severe and from the highly visible to the completely unseen. A surprising 650 million people – or 10 percent of the world’s population – are affected by disabilities.

Today is International Day of Persons with Disabilities, an international observance started by the United Nations in 1992 to raise awareness about disability issues and work toward achieving full participation for disabled people worldwide.

In Vietnam – where at least 150,000 children were born with birth defects presumably due to their parents’ exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin – International Day of Persons with Disabilities is particularly profound. Many families, especially rural families throughout southern Vietnam where Agent Orange was sprayed and stored, have devoted their lives to caring for their disabled children or grandchildren, some of whom aren’t even able to feed themselves.

But there are also many disabled Vietnamese who have the potential to become fully functioning members of society. Several nongovernmental organizations demonstrate that with the appropriate health and support services, many are able to work, attend school and live fulfilling lives.

To commemorate this special day, watch this short video from Jackee Chang’s documentary Through Their Eyes about a factory in the Thái Bình province of Vietnam where disabled people affected by Agent Orange share work, love and community. Please share widely by emailing to friends or posting to Facebook, in commemoration of International Day of Persons with Disabilities.