Factoid: The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports 4,800,000 Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. (i.e. mental disabilities, cleft palate, hernias, extra fingers and toes, etc.) These numbers do not reflect the direct impact on family members.
Thirty years after the war, 3,000,000 Vietnamese are still suffering from the effects of the toxin, which can cause birth defects and cancer, and is now affecting a third generation of victims, in addition to its devastating impact on the environment.
Project Managers: Mercy Tran
Vietnam, known for the strength and resilience of its people, is rebounding, following a long history of war and suffering. However, as much as half the current population of 90.5 million live on less than $2 a day, and many of them on less than $1. There is still a great need for assistance for the poor, disadvantaged and disabled.
Hands-On Saigon (HOS)has been active in helping the needy in Vietnam since 1996. Their programs, in numerous provinces of Vietnam, both north and south, have focused on the needs of some of the more overlooked and disregarded people; those in remote rural areas as well as some in the centers of the busiest cities.
Hands-On Saigon’s current projects include:
- Agent Orange victims—donating livestock to struggling families
- Rainwater harvesting—providing 1,500-liter (400 gal) cement tanks in areas lacking access to unpolluted water.
- Computer literacy—setting up computer centers to help bridge the digital divide and offer hope for a better future.
- Medical program—providing free medical check-ups and medicine to ethnic minorities living in rural, difficult-to-access mountainous areas.
- Community and orphanage visitation and support