SEALNet Project Vietnam 2010
“Actions for Agent Orange Victims”
Project Email: pv10.AgentOrange ‘at’ sealnetonline.org
Jasmine Nguyen (jasmine.nguyen ‘at’ sealnetonline.org)
Pak Hin Lee (lee.pakhin ‘at’ seatnetonline.org)
Dates: Thursday August 19 – Saturday September 4, 2010
Location: Ha Noi, Vietnam
During the Vietnam War, over a nine year period, 20% of South Vietnam’s jungles were sprayed with Agent Orange, a type of chemical defoliants that destroyed the environment and caused cancer in the lungs, larynx, and prostate. More than 500,000 children were born with birth defects, serious skin diseases, mental disabilities, hernias, cleft palate, as well as other health problems.
SEALNet Project Vietnam 2010 (Hanoi) aims to further raise and transform public awareness of the Agent Orange issue into concrete actions to aid Agent Orange youths at the non-profit Thanh Xuan Peace Village in Hanoi, Vietnam. By collaborating with local students and Peace Village, we seek:
(1) To create a long-term service project for Peace Village that will help improve their volunteer base, resources, financial ability, and publicity;
(2) To inspire, empower, and equip local students with the necessary leadership skills to sustain our project or carry out and participate in other service projects in the future;
(3) To foster understanding, love, and sympathy between Agent Orange youths and the local community, as well as international volunteers.
The team consists of 20 college students from 7 countries and 11 schools across the US, the UK and Vietnam. The project will last from August 19, 2010 (Thursday) to September 4, 2010 (Saturday).
Similar to all SEALNet projects, Project Vietnam follows the SEALNet philosophy of service and leadership. Our project’s service plan includes setting up a better-equipped computer lab for Peace Village, creating a curriculum for basic computer training (and running a few testing class), and organizing two large public events to raise awareness, foster understanding, create bonds, and fundraise for the Peace Village. We will also conduct a series of video log to publicly promote for the cause worldwide and to help our project achieve the mentioned goals. In addition to the direct service that will be performed on the ground, each team member will also be working closely with a mentee from a selected group of local youth to empower them with the skills and motivation to serve their communities.
Agent Orange is a defoliant herbicide mixture used during the Vietnam War. The United States sprayed 20 million gallons of Agent Orange over forests in Vietnam as part of a defoliant program. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. The affected residents are living in sub-standard conditions with many genetic diseases. The use of Agent Orange still has serious effects on the citizens of Vietnam, poisoning their food chain and creating concerns about its effects on human beings. This chemical has been reported to cause serious skin diseases as well as a vast variety of cancers in the lungs, larynx, and prostate. Children in the areas where Agent Orange was used have been affected and have multiple health problems including cleft palate, mental disabilities, hernias, and extra fingers and toes. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agent_Orange; http://www.lewispublishing.com/orange.htm)
Currently there are a certain number of Vietnamese public and private institutions hospitalizing these war victims (including veterans and children of veterans affected by Agent Orange) but most of these institutions do not have enough equipment and financial support to provide their residents with adequate services and acceptable life conditions. In addition, there is a lack of public and international awareness about Agent Orange as well as its aftermath effects. We realize that this is a serious social issue affecting a large portion of the working-class communities, especially the often-forgotten communities of disabled youths and veterans, in Vietnam.
– To transform people’s awareness into real actions for those who are suffering, and develop this awareness on a deeper and more personal level
– To inspire, empower, and equip local students with the necessary leadership skills to sustain our project or carry out and participate in other service projects in the future
– To create a long-term service project for Peace Village that will help improve their volunteer base, resources, financial ability, and publicity
– To improve the Peace Village’s financial ability by putting up marketing campaigns and fundraising events
– To create a marketing campaign for Peace Village that will be sustained by the local students in the future
– To foster understanding and sympathy between Agent Orange youths and the local community, as well as international volunteers
– To give love and inspiration to Agent Orange victims
Peace Village Thanh Xuan in Ha Noi, founded in 1991 by a German non-profit organization, is a specialist school and medical center providing relief to the child victims who are suffering from mental and physical disabilities caused by Agent Orange. The institution provides care, treatment and vocational training to disabled children who were born to parents exposed to Agent Orange. Our goal is to help improve their financial ability and sustainability, as well as raising public awareness about the Agent Orange and its after-war effects.
During the project, we will be working closely with the media, both local and international, as part of our plan to promote and raise awareness about Agent Orange issue as well as to encourage local youths to stand up and start taking actions for their community. In the two weeks before the project’s start date, we will have featured articles in selected and major magazines and newspapers in Vietnam (examples are 2! Magazine, VTM-Vietnamese Teen Magazine, Thanh Nien newspaper, Tuoi Tre newspaper, etc). We will also try to get words out in the online media community via blogs, online newspapers, forums, etc. These articles will reach a large audience across Vietnam and not just in the Hanoi area.
Service for Peace Village
– Create and implement a curriculum for basic computer training
– Set up a better-equipped computer lab for Peace Village
– Connect the residents at the Peace Village with local students and team members through various bonding activities and inspiring lessons
– Provide inspiration, empathy, love, and motivation for the children at the Village
– Compile a series of video log to raise public awareness about Agent Orange
– Organize public events to raise awareness, foster understanding, create bonds, and fundraise for the Peace Village
– Raise public awareness about the issue of Agent Orange and the needs for financial support from local and international communities
– Empower high school students with leadership skills through workshops and activities
– Hands-on approach to get students to reflect upon themselves, solidify the leadership skill set they learn from us
– Assist them in planning and organizing their own public fundraising event for the Peace Village
– Help students realize the values of service learning and be aware of community issues
– Inspire them to take actions once at a time and turn their short-term activities into long-term projects to contribute to their communities
Our project will be sustained by the efforts of the local members in our team, both the local college students and high school mentees. Our leadership workshop aims to equip the high school mentees with leadership skills and inspire them to take concrete actions for their community. In the project, we will develop a long-term curriculum for teaching the children at Peace Village to use computers. This computer training program will be carried out by the high school mentees after the project. Moreover, they will also organize other kinds of service trips at Peace Village and fundraising events for Agent Orange victims.
– Completion of a computer training curriculum for Peace Village to implement in the long term
– Setting up a more comfortable computer lab for the children to use
– Media appearance
– Public reception of our work, through our video logs and outreach
– Completion of leadership workshop
– Motivated mentees who will continue our work after the project
Team Member and Mentee Responsibilities
– Participate in and contribute to all aspects of the project
– Brainstorm on fundraising activities and marketing campaigns for Peace Village
– Promote awareness about the issue of Agent Orange and its after-war effects
– Design and teach leadership workshops to local students
– Inspire local students to “pay back” to their community
– A passion for community service
– Interest in youth empowerment
– Strong communication and management skills
– Strong sense of commitment
– Motivation for self-development
– A positive attitude
– Problem-solving skills
– A responsible and supportive team player
– An open mind!
As project leaders, we both aim to create a fun, educational, inspiring, and rich experience for our team members. We hope that our members will come out of this project with long lasting friendship, useful leadership skills, and a memorable time on the ground. As members of Project Vietnam 2010 – “Actions for Agent Orange Victims”, you will have a chance to experience, explore, and live in the spirit of “pay it forward,” while also having fun doing what you love.