Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam
To learn more about Ly and Ed Kashi, visit http://www.childrenofvietnam.org/.
(WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.; via Salem News) – A young Danang girl is receiving international attention and bringing awareness to the lingering effects of Agent Orange after she was featured in the 2010 UNICEF Photo of the Year.
Nine-year-old Ly is pictured in a portrait taken by Ed Kashi, with VII Photos, who lives in New Jersey. Kashi photographed Ly and other children helped by Children of Vietnam in July 2010. Children of Vietnam is a charity that provides care to children with disabilities, including those who may have been negatively affected by Agent Orange.
Ly has a noticeable facial deformity, as well as a concave throat and weak heart. She is believed to be affected by dioxin, which was one of the ingredients in Agent Orange. Ly’s grandfather was a soldier during the Vietnam War, and her mother and aunt also have facial deformities. Despite her difficult circumstances, Ly is joyful and a leader among her friends.
Kashi said he hopes his photograph will raise awareness that Agent Orange continues to create health problems for children and adults in Vietnam.
“To me, this work is about making the world a better place, and as journalists we can only do that with the cooperation of NGOs (non-government organizations) and charities like Children of Vietnam,” Kashi said.
Children of Vietnam helps support Ly, her family and others by providing wrap-around services such as education or vocational scholarships, surgeries when required, assistive aids such as wheelchairs and prosthetics, medicine, therapy, housing with indoor accessible bathrooms, and support for the parents to earn a living. The charity partners with the Danang Hai Chau and Ngu Hang Son People’s Committee and local health, education and social services experts in the area.
While the exact number of children with disabilities and the specific cause of each child’s disability is unknown, the Vietnamese government estimates that 3 million people in the country suffer from the effects of Agent Orange. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that 150,000 Vietnamese children are disabled due to their parents’ exposure to dioxin.
Agent Orange was a defoliant used during the Vietnam War. A number of areas with high residual dioxin still exist in Vietnam today, most notably around the perimeters of former bases where there was intensive and repeated close-range spraying, including Danang.
UNICEF Germany gives the Photo of the Year award for photographs and photo series that best depict the personalities and living conditions of children around the world. Kashi’s photograph of Ly was taken as part of the Vietnam Reporting Project.
- – About Children of Vietnam: Children of Vietnam provides humanitarian assistance for poor, orphaned and disabled children and their families in Vietnam. For more information about Children of Vietnam or to make a donation, go to http://www.childrenofvietnam.org/.
- – About Ed Kashi: Kashi is a photojournalist, filmmaker and educator who is dedicated to documenting the social and political issues of our times. He is based in Montclair, New Jersey. For more information about Kashi, go to http://www.edkashi.com/.
- – About the Vietnam Reporting Project: The Vietnam Reporting Project is a journalism fellowship program designed to produce groundbreaking multimedia news coverage on the enduring environmental and health consequences of Agent Orange contamination in Vietnam. For more information, go to http://www.vietnamreportingproject.org/.