PANO – Established in 1998, the Vietnam Friendship Village in Van Canh Commune, Hoai Duc District, has been, over the past 14 years, home to thousands of children of war veterans who were affected by Agent Orange/Dioxin.

A village with special residents

Young patients in the village receive the wholehearted care from their “mothers” and have a chance to learn how to read and write and to be trained vocationally to help them integrate into the community and make their ends meet in the future.

Pham Thi Long, Chairwoman of T6 House in the village, confided that children in the village have health problems, such as muscle and sense malformations and mental retardation due to AO/Dioxin. Despite their pains and poor health, they, full of optimism, try their best to overcome difficulties for good academy records, and believe in a brighter future.

Hien and her "children"

Take Canh Chi Long from Quoc Oai District as an example. Although Long is now 28, his build looks like a 6-year-old boy. Long said that he has been living in the village for seven years. At first, he met a lot of troubles with communication. However, thanks to support and encouragement of “mothers” and “brothers and sisters” in the village, he made his utmost efforts to overcome difficulties in studying for a better future. He said that he just finished the international programmer course at the Aptech Center, under the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, and hoped to find a suitable job soon.  

Dang The Lich, with both arm and leg malformations, from Hoang Ha Commune, Hoang Hoa District, Thanh Hoa Province, is another example. Lich became a member of the family five years ago. He just passed a entrance examination for the Academy of Journalism and Communication. He told that his good result from the university entrance exam is his meaningful gift to his “fathers and mothers” in the village.

War veteran Dang Vu Dung, Director of the Vietnam Friendship Village, said at present the village is home to 120 children from many central and southern provinces and cities. Apart from taking care and providing vocational training to young patients, the village will also send those with academic ability to schools in order to provide them a chance to integrate into the society. Many of them graduated from famous universities in Hanoi.

Quiet “mothers”

Taking care of and educating disadvantaged children require great sacrifice and hardship. Mothers in the village, such as Long, Hien, Hop and Khanh, over the past years, have wholeheartedly provided best care for the village’s children they consider their own sons and daughters.

Apart from teaching them how to read and write, these mothers also teach them how to integrate into the community and live in a group. Living with and taking care of these ill-fated children for years, the mothers now understand their children’s thoughts and characteristics.

The Vietnam Friendship Village now has six houses for children. In spite of facing with many difficulties, mothers in the village always take care of and foster dreams for these ill-fated children.  It results from their love and compassion for them. They always consider taking care of disadvantaged children for their happiness.

At present, millions of Vietnamese people are AO/Dioxin victims with hard life. They now need more support of all society for a brighter life.

Translated by Tran Hoai