Hoa Binh Peace Village is part of Tu Du Obstetric and Gynaecological Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. Since it was founded in 1990 it has been home to some 400 children, most of them suffering from the effects of Agent Orange, the deadly chemical sprayed to defoliate the forest regions by the Americans during the American/Vietnam war. This chemical, dioxin, has had catastrophic effects on the Vietnamese people, contaminating their land and rivers and causing birth defects and medical problems for three generations of survivors.
At present there are 60 children living in the village, mostly between the ages of 0 and 15 years.
Many of the children suffer from brain damage, as well as physical disabilities, some of which are incredibly severe. It is estimated that there are 3 million people suffering from the effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam today, and it is some of the most severely affected children who reside in the Peace Village. The Village provides a home for these children, medical treatment, schooling and vocational training. Some children are orphans, and others are so severely disabled that they could not be cared for by their families at home. Many parents have several children suffering from disabilities and they just cannot cope. Some children have been abandoned in the grounds of the hospital by these desperate families.
It is estimated that today still 1.5% of babies born at this hospital are affected by Agent Orange, and there is a room at the hospital which contains the preserved bodies of about 150 hideously deformed babies, born dead to their mothers. Some have two heads; some have unbelievably deformed bodies and twisted limbs. They are kept as a record of the terrible consequences of chemical weaponry.
Despite the children’s severe handicaps the Village is a happy place and the children are loved and well cared for. Although this is a high-profile hospital there is still a definite need for equipment. MSAVLC has been giving aid to the Peace Village for many years and has recently provided them with an Ultrasonic Therapy machine, wheelchairs, tables and bath aids. We hope to continue our support well into the future.
Equipment supplied by MSAVLC
Children in the hospital wards and school room
Babies born deformed due to Agent Orange
2015 – UPDATE
Hoa Binh Peace Village was revisited by Trustees from MSAVLC in March 2015, and they inspected the equipment that had been purchased for them in 2013. They were delighted to renew their acquaintance with the children, and note how they had grown and matured. It was possible for a few of the more able children to attend schools outside the village, whilst others were being loved and cared for by the attentive staff. But it was distressing to see the terrible deformities that had been caused by Agent Orange, and the great distress, handicaps and hardship suffered by many of the children in the Village.
The Trustees were pleased to see that although equipment was still needed, the village seemed to be well-staffed and was in good order. The Trustees donated some money to the village to buy toys for the children.