Quang Tri (January 23, 2022) – A few days before arrival of the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, a hundred primary and secondary schoolchildren from disadvantaged families in the districts of Vinh Linh, Gio Linh, Cam Lo and Huong Hoa have received brand new bicycles from Project RENEW thanks to funding of Veterans For Peace (VFP) Chapter 160 members and other donors.
On 20 and 21 January 2022, Mr. David Clark, VFP 160 Secretary-Treasurer who launched the VFP bike program, was joined by Chuck Searcy, President of VFP Chapter 160 and International Advisor to RENEW, and other members of VFP Chapter 160 to distribute bikes to disadvantaged children in rural districts. The VFP representatives joined with RENEW staff to travel to the communes of Cam Thanh, Thuan, Gio Son, and Vinh Thai to meet the scores of children in need and give them bright and shiny new bicycles.
Sixth-grader Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang was one of the beneficiary students at Gio Son Commune, Gio Linh District who received their bikes at a ceremony at the school on Friday. Trang’s mother is a single parent living in Vinh Tan Village of Linh Hai Commune. Their family has three children of school age. “I am so happy and grateful to have received this new bicycle from the donors,” said 12-year-old Trang. “This gift encourages me to study better.”
Principal Truong Cong Hieu of Thuan Primary and Secondary School said everyone appreciated the year-end gift from RENEW and VFP. He said the 48 Van Kieu ethnic minority students will directly benefit from the new bikes. “These new bicycles will provide reliable transportation for the students to and from school, and will give them more confidence in their studies for a brighter future.”
“We hope these new bicycles will offer the students a lot of fun and adventure,” said Mr. Searcy. ”But more importantly, we hope the bikes will encourage them to attend school and study every day, making the trip from home to school every day much easier. The children’s learning and knowledge,” said Mr. Searcy, “will contribute to their families and to the future of Vietnam.”
Launched as a response to the consequences of historic floods that occurred in late 2020, the ‘Bicycles For Education’ program funded by VFP Chapter 160 has helped RENEW to reach out to hundreds of schoolchildren living in disadvantaged circumstances in Quang Tri.
An international organization made up of veterans and their family members, Veterans For Peace is dedicated to building a culture of peace, exposing the true costs of war, and healing the wounds of war. VFP Chapter 160 has members in Vietnam and the U.S. Since 2013 VFP 160 has provided support to RENEW to help survivors of unexploded bombs and Agent Orange.
Project RENEW was established in 2001 as a joint effort between the government of Quang Tri Province and interested INGOs to “restore the environment and neutralize the effects of the war”. RENEW is the only comprehensive mine action organization in Vietnam that integrates survey and clearance, risk education, and victim assistance into a coordinated program of action.
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