-Vietnam Friendship Society
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"It was good to see so many students, over 200, that had come on a Sunday afternoon to hear the talk I gave on Agent Orange and the campaigns being waged in number of countries seeking justice for the victims. The short film and talk led to a number of questions from the audience. After the talk some students came up to ask further, as to what can they do. Hopefully, letters will be received at the White House addressed to both President Obama and his wife Michelle."
The photo shows a section of the hall at the Students Cultural House in Ho Chi Minh City.
"A useful exchange took place at a meeting with friends when I was asked to speak on my visit and work for victims of Agent Orange. In addition to members of Ho Chi Minh City Union of Friendship, there were friends from Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange (VAVA); Vietnam News Agency; Most. Ven. Dr Thich Thien Tam, Abbot of the Pho Minh Pagoda; Ho Chi Minh City Committee Fatherland Front; and various media. Also delighted that Nguyen Duc arrived, just a few days previously he had become father of twins, boy & Girl."
"With friends of HCMC Friendship Society, we went to Dong Nai province and met with two families, both have daughters affected by Agent Orange. During the war the US had airbases in South Vietnam one of which was in Dong Nai at Bien Hoa. The planes carrying 55 gallon drums of Agent Orange, took off for the spraying over areas of South Vietnam. It was at this base that over 5,000 gallons of Agent Orange was spilt. Not surprising that Dong Nai has over 13,000 people suffering from various illness and disabilities due to Agent Orange.
The two daughters shown here with their mother are 41 years of age and 36 years. Everything, I repeat everything has to be done for the daughters, they cannot move or speak, and the mother has been caring for them for 41 years.......
The young lady in thw wheelchair Huong Loan ithe last 11 months with the aid of friends has learnt how to use a computer. She now has many friends who send her emails to which she replies. She
One of the highlights of the visit to Ho Chi Minh City was to meet again with Nguyen Duc and his wife Thanh Tuyen and to see their newborn twins just a couple of days old. Duc, as you can imagine was proud to take us to the babies ward and to see his twins. In the photograph, taken through the ward’s glass and the glass of the incubator, you can see the babies, the boy and the girl wearing their blue and pink wooly hats. The girl was kicking her legs, while the boy was sleeping.
In the corridor were two people from Vietnam Television waiting to hear my comments on seeing the babies. I told them that in March 1989, I first met with Duc and his late twin brother Viet, then both 8 years of age, and of course it was wonderful and emotional to see today Duc'sn newborn twins."
"When In Hanoi I met with friends at Vietnam Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin (VAVA). It was an opportunity for me to meet and discuss the dismissal by the US Supreme Court of the lawsuit brought by VAVA against the 37 US Companies who made Agent Orange. It was good to hear that despite the lawsuit being dismissed the campaign to seek justice for the victims is to continue. Discussions are being held in and beyond Vietnam as to the next steps in the campaign.
In the photograph left to right are friends of many years: Lam Bao. former Minister Counsellor at London Embassy, Prof. Nguyen Trong Nhan Vice-Pres of VAVA, self and
"One of the surprises for me was the dinner to commemorate my 20th anniversary. This had been arranged by my friend Prof Trinh Ngoc Trinh. Director of HEDO. Along with other Vietnamese friends we drove to the West Lake for the dinner on the boat that was to cruise around the lake. It was a lovely occasion meeting and enjoying the dinner with the lights of the Hanoi shining across the waters of the lake..
The young man sitting on his bed is Le Van Chien who I first met 11 years ago sitting in his wheel chair? After arranging for a small operation Chien was fitted with his two limbs, these he smiling told me when I saw this year, he has kept as souvenirs. In the other photograph Chien is being interviewed for the “Talk Vietnam” programme by the producer Trang Hoang.
Chien is now 19 years and still lives at the Thanh Xuan Peace Village in Hanoi and goes home to see his parents at weekends.. He hopes to get a scholarship to study IT.
There are many youngsters in Vietnam like Chien that need our help so that they can - to use an expression – stand on their own two legs. In discussions with the Deputy Director of the Peace Village, I agreed that the BVFS will fund the renewal of Chien limbs when due. This will be carried out in co-operation with the Vietnam Red Cross Agent Orange Appeal Fund. This is where the money raised by our supporters is sent. Through the Vietnam Red Cross we have funded a number of
My three-week visit to Vietnam this year was special, being the 20th anniversary of my first in 1989. Although I have returned each year since 89 this one was very rewarding, not only to see old friends and to renew our friendship but to meet with new friends. I also took the opportunity to meet and speak to students about Agent Orange in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, in addition to meeting and discussing with various organisations.
The visit had many highlights one of which was to meet again with Nguyen Duc who I had first met in 89 with his brother Viet. Both were born conjoined twins and had undergone an operation to separate them in 1988.
When I met with Duc on this latest visit I also met again with his wife Tuyen Thanh just a few days after the birth of their twins a boy and girl, Phu Sy and Anh Dao. It was a very emotional moment.
The photographs below will, I hope, give you a brief tour of the wonderful three weeks.
Vietnam Television followed me during my visits to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi ending with an interview for their program “Talk Vietnam” that was shown a few times on VTV1 and VTV4. These showings resulted in me receiving many emails