Brief description and main aims
The Vietnam Friendship Village opened in 1998 and was established to treat and care war veterans and children who are suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, a herbicide and defoliant used by the U.S. Armed forces in its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War. There are currently around 120 children and 40 veterans living in the 11 houses that comprise the Village.
Established by George Mizo, an American Veteran of the Vietnam War, in collaboration with American, German and Vietnamese governments, the Village aims to provide rehabilitation through medical care and physiotherapy, as well as basic education and vocational training for children.
In 2004, an organic gardening project was started at the Village with the aim of increasing awareness of the consequences of war, and to demonstrate strategies for healthy living among those still suffering its effects. The garden now provides around 60% of the vegetables eaten at the Village. It is hoped that in the future the garden can provide all the fruit and vegetables needs for the Village, and eventually grow enough to sell and raise further funds for this much needed community center.
The aim of Friendship Village is to give every effected child the chance and opportunity to lead normal, happy and fulfilled lives. Clearly, given the circumstances this is no easy task, and although, thanks to the dedicated work of those at Friendship Village, tremendous advances have already been made, there still remains much work to be done.