Co Tu Children's Foundation works in northern and central Vietnam with the most vulnerable children: children with disabilities, the rural poor, street kids and victims of trafficking.
Since 2005, they have established several unique programs which comprehensively address the problems and issues keeping children and families in the poverty cycle. They employ psychologists and lawyers to work directly with children. And take an individualised case work approach, which is unique in Vietnam.
Co Tu support for victims of trafficking involves short-term rescue operations, as well as long-term support for them to return home and continue at school. They work along side the government and local media outlets, which helps them understand and fight the causes of child trafficking, so that their work will also have an impact on future generations.
Nam Nguyen (Nam) has been helping children affected by Agent Orange (more commonly known as napalm) for the past 10 years. His own family have been devastated by cancer and other diseases that have prompted him to try and help others in his country.
The vietnamese war has been over for more than 23 years but the effects of agent orange are still creating chaos. Agent orange was used by American forces to kill off anything providing cover (forest, agricultural fields) to the Viet Cong. Today it is still poisoning the food chain and causing serious effects to human health.
Chemicals incorperated in agent orange, such as TCCD, are know to cause cancer, brain damage and children born in contaminated areas today are three times more likley to be born with cleft palates, to be born mentaly retarded, or to be born with extra or less toes or fingers, and are eight times more likely to suffer hernias, as well as a host of other birth defects. Vietnamese scientists shocked by the Canadian findings are now talking of evacuationg the areas contaminated by agent orange. Areas that are feeling the effects over 25 years after the spraying has stopped.
If you wish to learn more about the Co Tu Children's Foundation or the BaCo Agent Orange Project we will be happy to introduce you to one of ther operatives as we travel through the country side of the Prao region, where they work.