This post originally appeared at VeteransforPeace.com.
ANNUAL SPRING TOUR TO VIETNAM – MARCH 5 to 21, 2017
Each year since 2012 members of Việt Nam’s Hoa Binh (Peace) Chapter 160 of Veterans For Peace (VFP) invite up to 20 veterans & non-vet spouses & peace activists to come to Việt Nam every Spring for an insider’s 2-week tour. The Hoa Binh chapter is the first & only overseas VFP chapter of American veterans living in Việt Nam!
The mission of the tour is to address the legacies of America’s war, as well as visit a beautiful country & form lasting ties of friendship & peace; therefore each tour participant is asked to bring a minimum of $1,000 as a donation. The money will go to VFP Chapter 160’s humanitarian projects in Việt Nam: bomb clearance, chemical warfare victims, hospitals, orphanages, schools, etc. The group will visit recovery & assistance projects supported by VFP & meet with Việt Namese families & war veterans struggling with: Agent Orange/Dioxin, Unexploded Ordinance & Poverty. Bringing the $1,000 minimum donation is mandatory. We also encourage donations from individuals & their organizations not going on the tour. These non-tour donations have accounted for more than half of the over $200,000 donated so far.
The Hoa Binh Chapter of Veterans For Peace is well-known & respected in Việt Nam. The 2017 group will be the sixth annual tour. In all, 66 people (36 veterans & 30 non-vet spouses & peace activists) have gone on the Spring delegations & delivered this critical aid & solidarity.
DATES: Tour dates in Việt Nam are Sunday, March 5th arrive Ha Noi; Tuesday, March 21st depart Ho Chi Minh City. We arrange an (optional) Group Flight from San Francisco.
TOUR COORDINATORS in Việt Nam:
Suel Jones – Former Marine Việt Nam War combat vet, 1968-69; lives in VN part of each year since 1998; volunteers in Da Nang with Việt Namese victims of Agent Orange (AO), of whom there are 3 to 4 million nationwide today. President of Veterans For Peace, Hoa Binh Chapter 160.
Chuck Searcy – Army VN vet enlisted, military intelligence analyst 1966-69; lives in Ha Noi full time since 1995; International Advisor for ProjectRENEW, which clears UXOs (Unexploded Ordinance: cluster bombs, landmines, etc.). Vice President of Chapter 160.
David Clark – Marine vet 1966-1970; First Engineer Combat Battalion, First Marine Division in Viet Nam 1968 through 1969. Lives in Da Nang full time since 2013. Member Ch. 160 board.
TOUR COORDINATOR in the U.S.:
Nadya Williams –Director of Communications for VFP San Francisco Chapter 69; Active Associate Member since 2003; lived in Việt Nam for 3 months in early 2008.
COST: Participants will pay for 4 things:
- In-country Land Cost of $2,750 (16 nights, 17 days), includes Single Room
- Airfare to & from Việt Nam – (optional) Group Flight from San Francisco, approx. $900-$1,000)
- The $1,000 Minimum Donation
- 4 – Visa Fee of $80 for a one-month Visa.
Please Note: We are all volunteers, no one is paid.
PLEASE SEE Ch. 160 WEB for Tour Info, Photos.: www.vfp-vn.ning.com & www.aoag.org
MAIL DONATIONS or $200 TOUR DEPOSIT to: Nadya Williams, VFP Volunteer Việt Nam Tour Coordinator; 1436 Grant Avenue, Apt. 10; San Francisco, CA 94133. Checks payable to: “Veterans For Peace, San Francisco Chapter 69” – Memo Line: ” Việt Nam Tour”
CREDIT CARD DONATIONS & PAYMENTS: Contact VFP National Office in St. Louis, MO Tele: (314) 725-6005; E-Mail: email@example.com; Web: www.veteransforpeace.org
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Nadya Williams, VFP Volunteer Spring Tour Coordinator in San Francisco. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Home: (415) 362-0162; Cell: (415) 845-9492
List of Veterans For Peace, Hoa Binh (Peace) Chapter 160’s Projects in Việt Nam. Donations from annual tour participants, plus non-tour organizational & individual donations, are divided up among these organizations:
- Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) – Has a special unit for Agent Orange (AO) Babies & Children; Tu Du has taken in hundreds of abandoned, severely disabled orphans over the years. AO birth defects now continue into the 4th generation!
- ProjectRENEW – Founded in 2001, with support from the American Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund & the Quang Tri People’s Committee; clears UXOs in Quang Tri Province; also aids victims, teaches children & adults how to be safe & implements income-generating projects for victims & their families; since 2013 has a Prosthetics & Orthotics Mobile Outreach program, which also aids Agent Orange victims.
- VAVA – Việt Nam Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin – Helps AO victims in the heavily-sprayed A Luoi (“Ashau”) Valley, Quang Tri Province, Nha Trang & throughout Việt Nam; has medical & residential centers, housing construction & poverty-alleviation projects, vocational training, special education programs, etc.
- DAVA – Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin – A VAVA chapter with a special relationship with VFP Chapter 160; works in heavily-contaminated Da Nang City (home of a former major U.S. base), has day care centers & schools for AO victims.
- The Friendship Village in Ha Noi – Founded by an American Việt Nam War veteran; a residential, medical & vocational center for Agent Orange victims, including Việt Namese war veterans & their disabled children & grandchildren affected by AO. NOTE: U.S. male veterans’ AO-affected children & grandchildren receive no medical benefits at all from our government.
- Farm Animal Project – A poverty-alleviation project which provides a cow or water buffalo to Agent Orange-affected farm families in the Hué & A Luoi Valley areas by partnering with Hué University & their “Hearts of Hué” program to fund: purchase of the animal, training in care, materials for the animals’ shelter, feed & veterinary care.
The Primary Chapter 160 Members in Việt Nam Who Organize & Lead the Tours:
- Suel Jones – Initiated the Cow/Water Buffalo Project; has volunteered for nearly two decades with Agent Orange victims. President of VFP Chapter 160. Volunteers directly with DAVA, VAVA & the Farm Animal Project.
- Chuck Searcy – ProjectRENEW’s international adviser since its beginning in 2001. Vice President of Chapter 160. Volunteers directly with ProjectRENEW, the Farm Animal Project & VAVA.
- David Clark – Member of VFP Chapter 160 since 2013; was elected to Board of Directors early 2016. Involved with Project RENEW, DVAVA, VAVA, Farm Animal Project, Hearts of Hué, and A Loui School Bicycle Program.
“I’m not particularly interested in figures, but in Washington there is a memorial to the U.S. deaths in the Việt Nam War and it is 150 yards long. If the same memorial was built for the Việt Namese that were killed it would be 9 miles long.”
– Philip Jones Griffiths, Việt Nam War Photojournalist, Welsh (1936-2008).