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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.