Cam Lo and Gio Linh, Quang Tri (January 6 – 7, 2022) – This week, Project RENEW embarked on a new chapter in its endeavor to support Quang Tri children with disabilities, most of them suffering from war consequences, including Agent Orange. Introducing an annual support scheme to help two rehabilitation centers for children with disabilities in Cam Nghia Commune and Gio Linh Townlet, Project RENEW staff noted that the initiative is made possible by funding from Irish Aid through the Embassy of Ireland in Vietnam.
On Thursday, young mother Nguyen Thi Vinh brought her six-year-old disabled son to the Cam Nghia Center for daycare and rehabilitation services. She noticed that many other mothers had already arrived with their children, talking with each other eagerly about this opportunity for their children. Ms. Vinh’s son is among 20 children from six to 18 years of age with severe disabilities who will benefit from daycare and rehabilitation at Cam Nghia Center, thanks to the support from Project RENEW.
The Rehabilitation Center for Disabled Children of Cam Nghia Commune was put into operation in 2008 in response to the prevalence of disabled children in the commune who needed rehabilitation services and support. The commune is one of several locations in Quang Tri Province heavily sprayed with Agent Orange and other herbicides during the war. Due to a lack of funding, the Center has had to shrink its operation, downsize its staff, and reduce its level of care during the past three years.
According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuong, who has worked at the Center since its inception, support provided by Project RENEW will enable the Center to provide daily care and rehabilitation for 20 children with severe disabilities. These children suffer from slow development, cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments, and other impairments.
“As a native of Cam Nghia Commune, I really hope that the Center’s operations will be sustained as long as possible,” said Ms. Thuong. “The parents of these disabled children are very poor so they rely on the Center to ease their daily caretaker burden and to have the opportunity to go out to work.”
Similar support from Project RENEW has also helped another rehabilitation center for disabled children in Gio Linh District to sustain its operation for another 12 months after a donor terminated their support in 2021.
On Friday, representatives of Project RENEW and Gio Linh District Disabled Persons Association signed an agreement to extend RENEW’s cooperation and support of the Center’s programs. The signing was witnessed by parents and their disabled children.
The expanded annual support scheme funded by Project RENEW will enable the Gio Linh Center to provide daily care and rehabilitation for 15 severely disabled children from two to 16 years of age. This annual support includes subsistence expenses for these 15 children and one caregiving staff, and necessities and equipment to keep the Center going.
From Hai Thai Commune, 15 km away from the center in Gio Linh Townlet, Ms. Tran Thi Nhu Tam brings her three-year-old grandson, who is bed-ridden, to the center for a daily rehabilitation regimen. With the little boy’s parents now working in a factory in Binh Duong Province, Ms. Tam assumes daytime responsibility for the boy in the hope that the boy’s condition can be improved through rehabilitation.
“We would like to sincerely thank Irish Aid for their willingness to support local disabled people in a sustainable way,” said Dang Quang Toan, Manager of Victim Assistance / Disability Support Program at Project RENEW. “We are providing evidence that the challenges posed by war legacies can be dealt with through existing local institutions and resources, with active funding support from donors and partners.”
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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