Archive for March, 2012

A Public, Private and Sustainable Solution to Disability in Vietnam


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The Aspen Institute established the Agent Orange in Vietnam Fund to gather and deploy resources from public and private donors to address the disability issues that remains as a legacy of the war in Vietnam. One of the first projects of this fund is an innovative and sustainable “Public-Private Partnership” in Da Nang.

Make Agent Orange History_Vietnam_Dioxin_HSBC

HSBC Vietnam CEO Sumit Dutta (far left) announces a grant of $60,000 (VND 1,300,000,000).

The Public-Private Partnership is a partnership between the Aspen Institute, Children of Vietnam, the Cam Le District People’s Committee and many associated agencies and hospitals. It will bring 265 children and young people living with disabilities into Children of Vietnam’s Hope System of Care. (Hope System of Care, developed by Agent Orange Champion Dannia Southerland, provides comprehensive wraparound services such as training, education and rehabilitation services to children and youth living with disabilities in Vietnam.)

According to Charles Bailey, director of the Aspen Institute Agent Orange in Vietnam Program, what makes the Public-Private Partnership unique is its sustainable funding structure. The initial start-up funding needed to purchase equipment, train staff and bring new children into the program is being provided by private donors, notably the Rockefeller Foundation, Hyatt Hotels and HSBC Vietnam. After three years, the Cam Le District People’s Committee expects to take over funding of direct services.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Rockefeller Foundation, Hyatt Hotels, HSBC Bank, the Cam Le People’s Committee and other donors, we will be able to enroll hundreds of children and youth in this program and vastly improve their lives,” Bailey says. “We hope this partnership will serve as a model for other parts of Vietnam.”

The Cam Le District of Da Nang lies adjacent to the airport which during the 1960s was a major hub for the spraying of Agent Orange and similar herbicides. High levels of dioxin, a toxic contaminant in Agent Orange, are still found at several dioxin “hot spots,” around Vietnam. One of them is at the Da Nang airport. The U.S. and Vietnam launched a project to clean up of the dioxin at the Da Nang airport earlier this year.

At its September 2011 meeting, the Clinton Global Initiative recognized the program as an official “CGI Commitment” and the Aspen Institute is seeking an additional $200,000 from corporate partners and donors to bring another 100 young people into the program.

Each partner’s conscientious concern and meaningful contribution will be highlighted in a most positive way in Vietnam and by the international aid community. If you are interested in contributing to the project, please email


UNAVSA selects Children of Vietnam for major fundraising effort




Every year since 2005, the Union of North American Vietnamese Student Associations (UNAVSA) has organized the Collective Philanthropy Project, a collaborative fundraising effort to raise money for a charitable cause chosen by the members of UNAVSA. In past years the Collective Philanthropy Project has raised substantial sums ranging from $32,000 to $60,000.

Make Agent Orange History_Dioxin_Vietnam_Tien Threading Bamboo to make Incense 2011

When Thien was six weeks old, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage. Thanks to economic support, medical care and vocational training provided by Children of Vietnam's Hope System of Care, Thien now contributes to the families income by making incense.

This year, the beneficiary of UNAVSA’s fundraising efforts will be Children of Vietnam’s Hope System of Care, a fantastic program which provides individualized wraparound services – ranging from health care to scholarships to economic support – to help children and young people with disabilities.

According to Nancy Letteri, Executive Director of Children of Vietnam, more than 200 children have enrolled in Hope System of Care since the program’s inception in 2007. They are in the process of enrolling another 165 and Ms. Letteri hopes to find funding to support an additional 100 young people.

“The efforts of UNASVA will make a huge difference to the lives of some very precious children whose potential and quality of life is shackled by poverty and lack of access to much needed resources,” says Letteri.  “We are honored to have UNSAVA members’ support. They are incredibly dedicated and committed to giving back to their community.”

To learn more about the Collective Philanthropy Project or to donate, click here.