As you all know, during the Vietnam War, from 1961-1971, several Vietnamese were exposed to AO, a chemical that contained dioxin, the most toxic substance ever known by our mankind. The conclusive number of exposed people is still unknown, but Dr. Stellman a well-known scientist of the U.S. estimated it around 5 millions.
Since the end of the war, almost 35 years have passed. And you easily realize that most of our wounds of war have been amazingly overcome already for several years, but the effects of AO on the contrary begin to show more and more imminently and disastrously among Vietnamese.
How many out of the number of exposed people, including those were and are contacting this chemical around the hotspots until today through its spillovers during the war have become the actual victims of this chemical is unknown yet, but tens of thousands have died and other tens of thousands are being in agony and in waiting to die, especially deformed children, due to different deadly diseases
The Vietnamese Govt and People have tried hard to provide assistance to our victims, but their requirements are so great that need more concentrated and varied efforts. That’s one of the reasons why certain Vietnamese scientists, vets, doctors, lawyers and victims themselves decided to set up VAVA in December 2003.
VAVA has three main functions:
a/ To provide direct aid and assistance to the victims in Vietnam medically, educationally, mentally, materially, regardless of background of exposure.
b. To mobilize and coordinate actions of the entire society and all the international forums to offer supports and assistance
c. To represent victims in providing advisory services to our Gvt and Party in devising policies in favor of their interests.
After 6 years, since its establishment, VAVA from ten people now has had a membership around 300.000, operating in 54 provincial chapters and in some thousand district and communal chapters.
During these past 6 years, VAVA has directly received an amount of nearly VND200 billions (in which about 20% from international sources). All these donations have gone directly to our victims under various forms.
This sum of money is only very minor as apposed to the needs of our victims, but together with other efforts, it has helped a lot in alleviating their pains, particularly with respect to mental needs: recognition for their plight, understandings and sympathy more and more extended from our own society, where certain people, including the victims themselves superstitiously believe that their suffering is due to their and their forefathers’ wrongdoings in the past life.
With 6 years of experiences and under favorable conditions for launching more effective supportive maneuvers, recently on the occasion of the Memorial Day for Victims of AO Victims in Vietnam (10th August, 2009) , VAVA decided to announce the establishment of its own formal fund – the Vietnam Association for Victims of AO/dioxin Foundation (VAVAF).
VAVAF has planned to initiate long termed as well as short termed campaigns to get many hundreds billion VND to be offered to our victims. In the immediate four years, from 2009 to 2013, besides the finance we need to provide cash payments to individual urgent cases, VAVAF has set forth a program/ of action with four modest projects as follows:
- To build 55 daily-care communal or inter-communal centers for deformed children in 55 provinces or cities across the country. Each worth 500 million VND
- To build 55 charity houses for 55 poorest AO families. Each worth 50 million VND
- To offer 1100 scholarships for school children. Each worth 3 millions VND
- To offer 1100 grants for those who want to do some businesses or finding jobs. Each worth 3 million VND.
The total amount that needs to make is 60 billion VND.
On this occasion, we call upon all of you to extend support to our program with the following commitments:
- 100% of donation will be directly go to the victims
- We will implement all possible forms and condition of assistance that you require for your donation to enable our victims to enjoy it directly and effectively
- We will accept all the forms of assistance
With a huge amount of victims – an estimation about 3 million individuals in Vietnam, the pain of the Vietnam victims is obviously the common pain of this nation.
With many other millions in the US, South Korea, Canada, New Zeland, Australia, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, the Philippines …. the pain of the Vietnamese victims is the common pain of our humanity.