Ha Noi, Vietnam (10 August 2012)
The funding agreement worth almost US$123.000 signed at the Embassy of Japan in Hanoi today will greatly contribute to reducing poverty and improving living conditions of many unexploded ordnance (UXO) survivors by expanding the mushroom-growing program in Quang Tri Province.
Mr. Hideo Suzuki, Attaché D’affaire ad interim of the Japanese Embassy and Ms. Jeanne Samuel, Country Representative of Humpty Dumpty Institute (HDI) signed the funding agreement for the “Mushrooms-with-a-Mission” program under witness of government representatives from Quang Tri Province — Mr. Nguyen Duc Chinh, Standing Vice Chairman of the Province People’s Committee, and Mr. Hoang Nam, Vice Director of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Coordinator of Project RENEW.
“Mushrooms-with-a-Mission” (MWM) is a humanitarian cooperative program between Project RENEW and HDI dedicated to establishing a sustainable mushroom growing industry that will in turn help neutralize some of the effects of the war.
This significant grant from Japan will help RENEW provide the Mushroom Center with the necessary equipment to effectively produce spawns, ready-to-fruit blocks and better process the mushrooms. Hundreds of survivors and families of victims in Quang Tri Province will benefit from this funding by participating in the mushroom program. Not only will the Center meet the demands of the participating families but eventually serve as a Mother Farm for mushroom growers in Quang Tri and other neighboring provinces.
“The Project we’re going to kick off today is aimed to improve living conditions for landmine victims in Quang Tri Province, which is considered to be the most heavily landmine impacted area in Viet Nam,” said Mr. Hideo Suzuki. “We’re giving necessary equipment and tools to those who lost their legs or arms, to grow mushrooms, and to put them into the market in order to earn their living and education of their children, their future,” he added.
“The equipment that is being donated by the Government of Japan will help us to increase the number of farmer families in the program thereby reaching out to more survivors and giving them the opportunities to increase their income. More importantly it will help sustain this project for many years to come,” said Ms. Jeanne Samuel.
To date, 100 families of UXO survivors in the districts of Cam Lo and Trieu Phong are growing mushrooms with support from MWM. These families have been able to access steady income which has helped lift them out of poverty.
Recent surveys indicate that Quang Tri has the highest UXO impact level (83% compared to 20% nationwide). About 7,075 people or 1.2% of its total population were victimized by UXO. Most of the UXO survivors live in disadvantaged conditions. 40.36% of the total survivors need vocational support to improve income with 39.26% needing direct financial assistance.
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