Chidren of Vietnam Blog

Description of my blog


COV is thankful for the support of the Landon Carter Schmitt Memorial Fund for their funding of 14 kids for three years in the Hope System of Care. Here is a message from the fund:
Pos Logo

Landon, who would be 32 today, was a bilingual guy moving fluidly in and out of and back and forth betweenVietnam and America. The Landon Carter Schmitt Memorial Fund's work for the last year has been much the same. It will continue to fund one project in Vietnam and one project domestically each year in areas Landon would have supported himself.
Father and Son
After fifteen years, Ben Wilson, whom we know, and his co-founder of Children of Vietnam, Huong Luong, are well known for building brighter futures for the poor and handicapped in and around Da Nang.  We know that Landon would have embraced the good work Ben and Huong are doing. Children of Vietnam (COV), founded in 1998, is dedicated to providing direct aid in the form of food, medicine, housing and education to poor and handicapped children in Vietnam. Its Hope System of Care for Children with Disabilities provides "intensive
wraparound services using existing local resources to identify needs, provide access to services and provide quality care for these children, including those who may have been negatively affected by exposure to Agent Orange/dioxin."
Our grant to the Hope System of Care will fund fourteen children, providing three years of comprehensive care with the goal of improving the quality of their lives and futures. The Rockefeller Foundation, HSBC Bank and Hyatt Hotels are primary funders of this program. Our grant will provide the additional funds required to fully fund all of the identified newborns and children up to 16 years of age waiting to receive services. With your help the critical needs of these children will be met. 

Will you help Children of Vietnam with a  $1 leadership donation? Your donation will help to earn us a place on “OneVietnam,” a global online network for the Vietnamese community.  Your gift will demonstrate that we have supporters who value the children we are helping and that we have the confidence and trust of you. 


Children of Vietnam has a low overhead and yet reaches over 40,000 poor, orphaned and disabled children annually. Being on OneVietnam will allow us to economically tell thousands more people about the need of the children in Vietnam and invite them to join us in making a difference.


You can make your $1 leadership gift on Your gift is tax-deductible and your gift will be leveraged to reach thousands of other people to join us.

Invisible Solitudes - Life at the Edge of Mental Health

An International Photography Exhibition

When: October 7 - 27, 2012


Where: Hotel Michelangelo, via Scarlatti 33, Milan, Italy (Oct 8-11) / Università degli Studi

di Milano Bicocca, viale Sarca 202, Milan, Italy (Oct. 12-27)


What: On the occasion of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association (member society of the World Psychiatry Association) and in conjunction with the World Mental Health Day 2012, the photography exhibition "Invisible Solitudes - Life at the Edge of Mental Health" aims at putting a face onto the faceted nature of mental illness

in different parts of the world.


The exhibition is a selection of thirty photographs by six professional photographers, published on (SDN,) a website for photographers, NGOs, editors, journalists, lovers of photography and anyone else who believes that photography plays an important role in educating people about our world. The selected stories present an intimate look at psychological suffering and how it expresses itself according to different socio-cultural contexts. At the same time, they aim to denounce the causes of such suffering, as well as the ignorance and the silence surrounding it.


The documentary photographs touch upon a range of themes, from the invisible consequences of war in Afghanistan as portrayed by Diego Ibarra Sanchez, to the terrible legacy of Agent Orange, shot by Catherine Karnow in Vietnam. Jenn Ackerman toured penitentiaries in the United States, while Steve Davis captured the last days of a Seattlebased

institution for the developmentally disabled. Magdalena Sole’s journey to Japan explores its hidden secret, homelessness in Kamagasaki, while Enrico Fabian’s work on prescription drug abuse in India shows the other side of the “pharmacy of the Third World.”


In these images, the lens portrays some of the world's most dominant contemporary social issues, focusing on their psychological dimension. Choosing to observe, instead of turning our eyes away, allows us to immerse ourselves in fragments of lives marked by an illness that only appears secondary to the tragedy in which it develops, such as war, poverty, and other societal deprivations. Only by looking at these pictures can we achieve awareness of these illnesses, and overcome the stigma surrounding them.


Reception and Panel Discussion


“Shooting Against Stigma: Social Documentary Photography and Mental Illness”

When/where: Sunday, October 7, 2012, h. 7.30pm, at Auditorium Giorgio Gaber, Palazzo Pirelli, headquarters of Regione Lombardia, Piazza Duca d'Aosta 3, Milano, Italy.

Panelists: Glenn Ruga, Founder and Director of SDN; Catherine Karnow, Photographer and Author of “Agent Orange: A Terrible Legacy;” Denis Curti, Director of Contrasto Milano and Spazio Forma – International Center of Photography in Milan


*The event is restricted to those invited to attend the opening ceremony of the 46th National Conference of the Italian Psychiatry Association.



Jenn Ackerman, Trapped, U.S. – The withdrawal of mental health funding in the United States has turned prisons and jails across the country into default mental health facilities, inadequately equipped to serve both functions and provide a good level of care and security.


Steve Davis, The Rainier School, Seattle, U.S. – Davis documents the final days of an institution for the developmentally disabled, born as a school and turned into a rest home. This type of facility is nowadays disappearing, due to the controversial way society has come to regard its role.


Enrico Fabian, Phas Gaya – Being Stuck, India – Fabian tells the story of a victim of the cheap and easy access to pharmaceutical drugs in the “pharmacy of the Third World,”

which has led to an increase in prescription drug addiction and abuse, especially among the lower strata of the population. 


Diego Ibarra Sanchez, Invisible War Consequences, Afghanistan – Over three decades of sociopolitical instability and conflict have affected the lives of Afghanistan’s mentally ill population, living in inhuman conditions, without adequate care, and surrounded by ignorance and prejudice, particularly in rural areas.


Catherine Karnow, Agent Orange: A Terrible Legacy, Vietnam – Karnow explores how devastating diseases as  sociated with Agent Orange defoliant, sprayed by the U.S. military

during the Vietnam war, still affect people’s lives in the country, nearly four decades later. 


Magdalena Sole, Japan’s Hidden Secret: Kamagasaki, Japan – A neighborhood afflicted by homelessness, poverty and declining health, Kamagasaki is home to an aging population of day laborers who came during the country’s economic boom in the 1960s. It stands as a symbol of the end of that era, while at the same time remaining quintessentially Japanese.

We are poor children but we have the same wishes to learn.  ... Every year that we advance in school is another year of hardship for our families. ...Life is difficult but we know we are lucky to have the support of our parents and COV. ... [the COV scholarship] is the highest spirit gift.  We promise to try our best in learning to make you happy.
If you don't have the tissues out yet, have some nearby.  The government speakers mentioned that some of these students had travelled 50 km, some had left home the day before the ceremony (some in the morning, some in the evening) to get there on time.  I asked if we could meet one of the students who had traveled for a day, and they brought over the two sweet girls.  

No is in 3rd grade and Tre (bamboo) is in 5th grade.  They live far away, and because their family is too poor to own a motorbike their uncle drove them. They left home on Tuesday morning to make it to the ceremony on Wednesday and stayed with a friend of their uncle's the night before.  They sang a very cute song about a cat for us.

Fall is approaching which according to one of our board members makes him think about golf.  So, he is organizing the Children of Vietnam's 4th Annual Golf Outing. I am inviting you to join him and me on Oct 19th at the James Park Golf Course.
So how will this help children?   School in Vietnam is not free.  Read short the attached profile of one of our girls to learn what kind of impact joining us will have.
When poor girls in Vietnam get to the 6-8th grade they are often taken out of school because their families cannot afford the tuition and uniforms.  They are needed at home to care for younger siblings and or work to supplement the family income.  As they get older their opportunities (based on a 6th grade education) become very limited, the domino's begin to fall and the cycle of poverty (and worse) is repeated.
cute_girl_07Now the good news… Thanks to a generous gift from Rotary and a matching pledge, we already have enough money to fund these young ladies for (2) years.  
They will receive books, school supplies, uniforms, have their tuition paid and… receive special tutoring.  Afterschool tutoring is a big deal in Vietnam, without it there is virtually no chance of passing a university entrance exam.

Our goal to be able to provide scholarship all the way through college—a very concrete path to breaking the cycle of poverty  This is an eleven-year commitment to these children and the estimated cost is $135,000.00.  Think about that, $5,400 to fund a child from the 6th grade all the way through college?  We have plenty of time to raise this money so it does not have to happen all at once, this is a marathon not a sprint.  Your support will be a ripple in the pond that will last for generations.

Can you…

· Play golf!

· Be an event sponsor

· Be a team sponsor

· Donate a prize

· Send us a check (marked "golf event")

· Ask (1) other person to consider this


We promise lots of laughs if you come to the tournament and your financial support will change the world for generations.

Thank you! 


On August 9, 2012, the Vietnamese Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will launch a joint project that will safely and completely destroy the dioxin in contaminated soils at the Da Nang airport. This announcement marks a dramatic new milestone in the collaboration between the U.S. and Vietnamese governments towards resolving the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam 37 years after the end of the war.


The August 9th launch represents the product of efforts spanning multiple agencies in both governments.  It is also the result of many years of private efforts to address every aspect of the Agent Orange/dioxin legacy in Vietnam.  Walter Isaacson, the U.S. co-chair of the US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and CEO of The Aspen Institute, welcomed the news:


"This ceremony marks the coming together of our two countries to achieve a practical solution to dioxin contamination. As important, the U.S. government is also devoting more resources to meeting the needs of people with disabilities in Vietnam, regardless of cause.  This is a humanitarian issue we can do something about, and the Aspen Institute is proud of its role in helping to convene the Dialogue Group and advance enduring responses to the Agent Orange legacy."


The Aspen Institute has served since 2007 as the U.S. secretariat for the Dialogue Group, which includes prominent scientists, environmental experts, and former officials from both countries. The Dialogue Group is co-chaired by Walter Isaacson and Ambassador Ha Huy Thong, vice chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Vietnam’s National Assembly and convened by Susan V. Berresford, former president of the Ford Foundation.


As a follow up to its 2010 Declaration and Plan of Action to address the Agent Orange legacy, the Dialogue Group’s June 2012 Second Year Report offers well-researched recommendations from experts in both countries for addressing the needs of people and families whose challenges may be linked to dioxin exposure, cleaning up all the remaining dioxin hotspots and restoring damaged landscapes. The Dialogue Group is hopeful that its reports will inform each government’s efforts.


The Aspen Institute's Agent Orange in Vietnam Program (AOVP) is a multi-year project to help Americans and Vietnamese address the continuing health and environmental impact of herbicides sprayed in Vietnam during the war. The program promotes dialogue on solutions to the continuing impact of the wartime use of herbicides in Vietnam. The program provides the U.S. secretariat for the bi-national US-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin and manages the Agent Orange in Vietnam Fund supporting model projects benefiting people with disabilities in Vietnam.


The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. For more information, visit

Agent Orange in Vietnam Program

477 Madison Ave, Suite 730                                                                                                            

New York, NY 10022                                                                                                                                   

Tel. 212-895-8061                                                                                                                                       

Contact: James Hoppes


# # #

Simple intervention can save kids' lives

A teacher instructs her pupils to wash their hands as one of ways to prevent diarrhoea at the Viet Nam-Bulgaria Kindergarten in Ha Noi. — VNA/VNS Photo Quy Trung
HA NOI — The child survival gap within and between countries can be narrowed if proven and cost-effective interventions for pneumonia and diarrhoea are scaled up to reach the most disadvantaged children, according to a new report from UNICEF.

The report, Pneumonia and diarrhoea: Tackling the deadliest diseases for the world's poorest children, focuses on the two diseases as two primary killers of children under the age of five.

"Scaling up simple interventions could overcome two of the biggest obstacles to increasing child survival, help give every child a fair chance to grow and thrive," said Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director.

In Viet Nam, as many as 7 per cent of children under five had diarrhoea in the past two weeks. More than a half of the children with diarrhoea received oral rehydration salts (ORS), and 70 per cent received ORS or homemade treatment.

COV 4th Annual Golf Tournament  

Children of Vietnam Golf Outing Fundraiser

2012 Sponsorships - Jamestown Park Golf Course, Jamestown, NC

Friday, October 12th, 2012, 12:00pm Shotgun Start!

Only 144 players Maximum - So Sign Up Early!!

Cost $100/player or $400/foursome

Jr. Players (25 & under) $65

Sr. Players (65 & over) $75

(Includes 18 holes of golf w/cart, beverages and a Chicken or BBQ Pork dinner w/sides)

Format: Captains Choice / Scramble

Awards & Raffle prizes: 50/50 cash drawing, Longest Drive, Best Score, Worst Score, Longest Putt.

For more questions or comments, please call: 336-210- 2312

Mail to: Children of Vietnam Golf Outing 4361 Federal Drive, Ste. 160, Greensboro, NC 27410

Please Review COV!

GreatNonprofits – a review site like Amazon Book Reviews or TripAdvisor – is honoring top-rated nonprofits working with children and families.

Won’t you help us participate in the awards by posting a review of your experience with COV and pass this on to others who know our work? All reviews will be visible to potential donors and volunteers. It’s easy and only takes three minutes! We have until June 30th to earn 10 new positive reviews. Go to:

With your help, we can gain greater visibility in the community.

Thanks so much.


Trek for a Helping Hand 2012

In May 2012, five formidable women trekked the remote mountains and rice fields west of Hanoi having raised over $20,000 for Good Beginnings Australia. After 6-days and 100kms of trekking, they headed to Da Nang and spent 2-days at the Children of Vietnam orphanage. Here’s the video of their journey followed by links to all their blog posts.


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Contact Us

PO Box 18039
Greensboro, NC 27419
Phone: (336) 235-0981