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|Ambassador Kritenbrink (center) cut the ribbon symbolizing the official handover of the equipment to the Friendship Village.|
The handover consists of dental and medical equipment provided by Spirit of America (SoA), a citizen-funded private charity that works alongside U.S. troops and diplomats to deliver the goodwill of the American people, addressing local needs and strengthening critical partnerships around the world.
The beneficiary, the Friendship Village, is an organization under the Vietnam Veterans Association (VVA) that provides routine medical care for veterans and vocational training for children of veterans who are affected by Agent Orange/Dioxin.
This event is part of the broader U.S. Embassy efforts to work with Vietnam to overcome legacy of war challenges to strengthen people-to-people ties.
In November 2019, in conjunction with the US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visit to Hanoi, SoA pledged a $15,000 donation to the Vietnam Veterans Association’s Frienship Village care facility as a demonstration of the American people’s commitment to the bilateral relationship. This pledge has been realized in January 2020 through the delivery of a dental chair and related equipment to enhance the level of dental care being provided to veterans and disabled youth at Friendship Village. Prior to the handover, SoA also provided basic hygiene supplies and educational materials to support the care of disabled youth at the Friendship Village facility.
Speaking at the dental equipment handover ceremony on January 13, US Ambassador Daniel Kritenbrink said:
“We are honored to be Vietnam’s partner and friend. And we will commit to Vietnam’s success, now and in the future”.
According to the Ambassador, the visit to Friendship Village of the Embassy and SoA representative is one of the humble effort to "directly recognize and address two countries' painful history together". He emphasized that his belief that in 2020, the year marking the 25th anniversary year of bilateral relationships, the two peoples' good wills, commitment and dedication will help Vietnam and US achieve more together.
In his visit to Friendship Village, Ambassador Kritenbrink also expressed his great respect for Vietnamese veterans "who contributed and sacrificed for their country in the name of patriotism".
At the same time, Ambassador Kritenbrink expressed his thank and appreciation for the contribution of Friendship Village in supporting the veterans and their children, grandchildren living there.
On behalf of the people in Friendship Village, Colonel Nguyen Thang Long, Director of the Friendship Village conveyed sincere thank to the US Deparment of Defense, the Spouse of Secretary Mark Esper, Ambassador Kritenbrink, the Defense Attache, staff of the US Embassy in Hanoi and especially SoA for their supports, and promised that the Friendship Village staff will make the best use of the equipments to serve the veterans and the handicapped youth.
The Friendship Village, located in Van Canh commune, Hoai Duc district, in the outskirt of Hanoi city, was established in 1998, as an initiative by George Mizo, an American veteran of the Vietnam War. The institution serves individuals afflicted by conditions related to Agent Orange. Nowadays, the focus of the village has broadened, providing a variety of services such as health treatments, food, medicinal herbs grown in an onsite garden and vocational training. At the moment, Friendship Village is home to 120 AO/Dioxin children, grandchildren of veterans and provides healthcare services for veterans from 36/63 province of Vietnam.
*Moments of the visit made by US Ambassador to Friendship Village on January 13:
|A friendly handshake between US Ambassador and a Vietnamese veteran.|
|Director of Friendship Village, Colonel Nguyen Thang Long presents an embroidery picture made by veterans' children to US Ambassador.|
|In addition to the handover of equipment, Ambassador Kritenbrink also spends time touring around the Friendship Village, meeting with the children there.|
|The meeting brings lots of smiles and laughters to both the visitors and hosts.|
|US Ambassador's cheerful talk with Thanh Binh, a lady from Quang Nam province in the embroidery workshop.|
|"Made in Friendship Village" delicate shawls fascinate the Ambassador.|
|At the end of the tour, the Ambassador buys a hand-craft shawl for his daughter, which make the trainees of the weaving workshop very proud and honored.|