International Friends Join Hands to Ease Pain of Agent Orange in Vietnam
|President of the Belgian Chamber of Representatives (right) and Tran To Nga, overseas Vietnamese in France-victims of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Photo: VNA
First National Assembly in the world to approve a resolution supporting Agent Orange
In early October 2023, the Belgian Chamber of Representatives passed a Resolution to support Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange with an absolute majority of votes.
According to federal parliamentarian André Flahaut, who submitted the resolution to the Belgian Parliament, there must be concrete action to implement the resolution.
In the immediate future, Belgium will contribute technology to detoxify dioxin-contaminated soil in Vietnam. The resolution will also contribute to promoting political parties around the world to join the fight against the use of chemical substances in warfare.
President of the Chamber of Representatives Éliane Tillieux also said that the resolution shows Belgium's will, but specific action is needed. These are financial support options and the implementation of academic research between Belgian and Vietnamese universities to achieve long-term solutions.
The Belgian Chamber of Representatives' resolution calling for support for Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange is a new beginning for the journey to help Vietnam overcome the consequences of war that a large number of Belgian people have undertaken for many years.
Sowing seeds of hope
When her husband, an American soldier who fought in Vietnam, died from Agent Orange exposure, Japanese filmmaker Masako Sakata researched to make a film about the pain of Agent Orange.
|Masako visited Agent Orange victim Tran Doan Hien (Tay Phong commune, Cao Phong district, Hoa Binh province) in October 2023. Hien received a scholarship from the Seeds of Hope fund for three years (2011, 2012, 2013). Photo: dientudacam.vn
She came to Vietnam and was surprised because the number of people infected with dioxin here was so large, their lives were extremely difficult. At that time, she was determined to do everything she could to help these victims.
What Masako Sakata discovered after many visits to Vietnam was conveyed in her first two films, Agent Orange: A Personal Requiem (2007) and Living the Silent Spring (2011).
These two films won many prestigious Japanese and international awards, including the Mainichi Film Awards, and the special award of the Paris International Environmental Film Festival. In 2011, Masako Sakata established the Seeds of Hope project, providing scholarships to Vietnamese students who were victims of Agent Orange.
Since its establishment, the fund awarded scholarships to nearly 200 children with a total amount of scholarships and support for Orange Village of over VND3 billion (US$123,456), each child received a scholarship of VND18 million (US$740,739)/3 years.
In early October, returning to Vietnam, Masako Sakata was awarded US$5,000 scholarships under the Seeds of Hope project to continue activities to support victims of Agent Orange to overcome difficulties in life.
Recognizing her support for the Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange, and contributing to the development of friendly relations between Vietnam-Japan, in 2017, authorized by the President, the Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan awarded her the Friendship Medal.
Support from friends
According to information from the Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange/dioxin, in 2023 the Association mobilized and called for support from international organizations and individuals with an amount of more than VND2.2 billion (US$90,254).
In particular, the project of the Green Cross (Switzerland) to help victims of Agent Orange and staff at Da Nang Care Center for Victims of Agent Orange (AO) and Unfortunate Children in the period of 2023-2024 has a total amount of more than VND1 billion (US$41,143).
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) supports child-friendly projects for the period 2023-2026 with US$50,000.
In addition, the Association welcomed and worked with nearly 60 organizations and more than 300 foreign individuals such as Kyoto Sangyo University and Meiji University (Japan), Miss Universe Australia charity team, Jica (Japan), Veterans For Peace, and Thuringia state delegation (Germany).
In addition to Da Nang, foreign non-governmental organizations also supported overcoming the consequences of war and the Agent Orange/dioxin particularly in many other provinces and cities such as Quang Nam, Quang Tri, Quang Binh, Thua Thien Hue, Binh Dinh, Thai Binh, Ho Chi Minh City.
The programs and projects focus on the fields of health care, rehabilitation, community integration, vocational training, job creation, and livelihood development for victims of Agent Orange.
International organizations and philanthropists' material and spiritual support contributed to improving their lives, encouraging victims of Agent Orange and their family members.
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