By Ca Van Tran, President
Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH) and its sister organization, Health and Education Volunteers (HealthEd), continue to make significant progress on humanitarian assistance programs that have a positive and lasting impact on individuals and communities. We continue to receive strong support from our long-time major donors for programs that help bring hope and life-changing opportunities to the disabled and needy in Vietnam.
At the beginning of this year, the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID) provided a generous grant to support a multi-year "Inclusion of Vietnamese with Disabilities" program (see related article on page 1). Under this program, VNAH will focus on strengthening national policies and programs affecting the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society; supporting the implementation and enforcement of existing disability inclusion policies and programs at the local level and in the private sector; and mainstreaming disability issues into national plans for social and economic development.
To achieve this, VNAH and our local and international partners will implement a 36-month program with four inter-related components:
- Strengthening the legal and policy framework for disability inclusion
- Strengthening national coordination of disability policy development and implementation
- Strengthening the enforcement of disability law and policy
- Increasing access to meaningful employment for those with disabilities
VNAH is very grateful to have the participation of both the U.S. National Council on Disability (NCD) and the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) of the U.S. Department of Labor as technical advisors to this important program.
The Freeman Foundation has provided generous funding for thousands of wheelchairs and prostheses for war and landmine victims in rural regions. With improved quality and design, these valuable assistive devices will enable thousands of people with disabilities to regain their dignity as well as mobility and lead more meaningful lives.
The Nippon Foundation and its sister organization, the Asia Education and Friendship Association, have responded to a VNAH/HealthEd request with funding to expand prosthetic assistance to the northern provinces in addition to vocational training programs and school construction in remote rural areas.
Also, early this year we began two small programs to assist local NGOs and key government agencies in Laos to heighten awareness of disability issues and develop a favorable environment for civil society organizations.
Although the needs of millions of Vietnamese with disabilities are enormous, it's profoundly gratifying to see our projects begin to bear fruit. But there's much more to do, and we need your help.
Join us as we redouble our efforts to bring these wonderful people hope both by assisting in the improvement of laws and regulations affecting the disabled and by providing products and services that will directly improve their lives.