Offices

 

VNAH HQ, McLean, VA
1421 Dolly Madison Blvd., Suite E
McLean, Virginia 22101
Ph: 703-847-9582
Fax: 703-448-8207
vnah1@aol.com

VNAH Hanoi, Vietnam
101A Nguyen Khuyen - Dong Da
Hanoi, Vietnam
Ph: 84-4-3747-3000
Fax: 84-4-3823-7444
vnah-hanoi@hn.vnn.vn

VNAH Tay Ninh, Vietnam
384B Khu Pho Thuong Mai, Khu Pho 1, Phuong 3, Tay Ninh City
Tay Ninh, Vietnam
Ph: 84-66-3895-222

VNAH Binh Phuoc, Vietnam
10 Le Duan Street, Phuong Tan Phu, Dong Xoai City
Binh Phuoc, Vietnam
Ph: 84-651-3888-567

 

Board of Directors

Ca Van Tran
President

Lai Van Le

James D. Bond
 

Dr. Kim-Anh Le
 

Dr. Dung Q. Tran

Minh T. Bui
 

Ms. Hiep T. Lowman

 

Thang T. Do
Treasurer

Todd C. Nguyen
Secretary

Chuong S. Tran

About Us

 

Since 1990, Viet-Nam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH), a U.S based not-for- profit organization, has worked with both international and private donors to support Vietnamese with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups to regain mobility and improve their socio-economic status; to build capacity of local service providers; and to assist the Vietnamese government in development and implementation of national policies affecting people with disabilities and civil society.

Rehabilitation Services
During the past 25 years, VNAH has partnered with the regional orthopedic and rehabilitation centers of Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs to provide rehabilitation services and prosthetic and orthotic devices to Vietnamese. VNAH has delivered over 128,000 artificial limbs, orthotic devices and wheel chairs to people with disabilities, many of whom are war and landmine victims. VNAH has also provided continuous rehabilitation care and services for thousands of persons with disabilities in Da Nang, Quang Nam, Binh Dinh, Dong Nai, Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc.

Job Creation
To expand job opportunities for disabled men and women, VNAH supports vocational skills training, mainstream employment, and capacity building for employment service providers. We helped develop inclusive employment services in ten provinces and introduced the vocational rehabilitation model to Vietnam; and set up a Blue Ribbon Employer’s Council (BREC) of over 250 business members to promote employment for persons with disabilities. Our work has helped create gainful employment for over 6,000 Vietnamese with disabilities across the country.

Policy Reform
VNAH provided technical assistance and other support to the Vietnamese Government and National Assembly partners for development of disability policies. This support has resulted in:

  • Enactment of the country’s first Disability Law.
  • Establishment of an inter-agency National Coordinating Council on Disability (NCCD)
  • Establishment of a national Vietnam Federation for Disabilities
  • Enactment of a series of barrier-free access codes and standards for public construction, transport and Information Communications Technology (ICT).
  • Inclusion of disability concerns in the new Vocational Training Law and Labor Code.
  • Enactment of long-term action plans on disabilities at national and provincial levels.
  • The ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the development of the national plan of action for implementation of CRPD
  • A National Policy that expanded health insurance coverage for rehabilitation services
  • Disability Information System (DIS) which is being used/operational in 17 provinces

Currently, VNAH is supporting Vietnamese Government agencies and other partners in implementing the CRPD, the Disability Law and other disability national action plans.

Capacity Building
VNAH has provided technical training and capacity building to Vietnamese Government Agencies including the NCCD, and the Ministry of Construction, as well as curriculum strengthening and faculty development in areas including barrier-free access design, and strengthening the content of social work , occupational therapy and vocational rehabilitation undergraduate and graduate programs in several universities to address disability issues. Government workers at provincial and community levels are also receiving training in these topics.

Assistance to the disadvantaged in the Central Highlands
VNAH is among a few international NGOs allowed to operate in this region, home to several ethnic minorities. Since 2000, we have built 144 elementary and high schools and dormitories; installed safe drinking water systems; and trained midwives for remote ethnic minority villages. We have provided support for livelihood development, rehabilitation services and assistive devices to people with disabilities in the five provinces of the Central Highlands.

Current Projects

  • Technical assistance to the Government of Vietnam to implement the CRPD action plan, the Disability Law and disability action plans.
  • Curriculum and faculty development and training in occupational therapy.
  • Improve capacity for rehabilitation services in Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc provinces, through training of rehabilitation practitioners and provision of equipment for rehabilitation facilities at all levels in the two provinces.
  • Provide continued rehabilitation care and service for 4,000 persons with disabilities in Tay Ninh and Binh Phuoc.
  • Build new dormitories and elementary schools for ethnic minority and rural children in the Central and Northern Highlands regions.

International Partners
VNAH receives support from, and works with major public and private organizations, including:

  • U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Leahy War Victims Fund
  • U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S State Department (DRL, WRA)
  • American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (USAID/ASHA)
  • Freeman Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • The Aspen Institute
  • The Nippon Foundation (Japan)
  • Asian Education Friendship Association (Japan) § Sasakawa Peace Foundation (Japan)
  • Disabled American Veterans
  • The American Legion
  • U.S. National Council on Disability
  • Chino Cienega Foundation
  • Grapes for Humanity Global Foundation
  • Nike, IBM, Pragmatics Corp. 
 

SUPPORTERS


Why We Are Involved

At Long Last: Disabled Help Set Policies

In May 2002, through the unflagging support of VNAH, I made my second trip to Vietnam to attend the two-day workshop in Da Nang to work with various Ministries, Vietnamese people with disabilities and others in assisting Vietnam’s National Coordinating Council on Disability (NCCD), in setting priorities. The productive workshop centered on four critical areas – employment, self-help groups, barrier-free access and public awareness – essential for the independence, full participation and economic self-sufficiency of people with disabilities in Vietnam.

My first trip to Vietnam was to participate in a conference of the Vietnam National Assembly, which saw the formation of the NCCD as a governing body with responsibility and oversight of programs and policies that include people with disabilities. Since then, NCCD and the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), with the able counsel of VNAH, have steadily worked to advance Vietnam’s commitment in the implementation of its standards requiring the inclusion and integration of people with disabilities in Vietnam.

I observed incredible progress at the conference in Da Nang. The meeting included strong and passionate advocacy from the government and a cross-section of people with disabilities, many of them clearly emerging leaders. At one point, Le Van Anh from Ha Noi, presented his report in sign language, using a sign language interpreter that he had personally trained to provide a spoken interpretation of the report. This presentation was made all the more impressive by the fact that when I met Le Van Anh along with three other deaf Vietnamese at the National Assembly conference a year and a half prior, the lack of a Vietnamese sign language interpreter anywhere in Ha Noi meant that they could not understand the proceedings much less actively participate in them.

In Da Nang, the various presenters provided input to MOLISA and representatives of the VN government regarding areas that have seen improvements, areas that still need attention, and a prioritization of these areas. I perceived this conference as one of the defining moments in the history of people with disabilities in Vietnam. The advances that have taken place in such a short time in Vietnam bodes well for the continuing participation and production by people with disabilities in employment, and their access to the same programs and policies available to people without disabilities.

Conference attendees who wished to make the trip were taken by bus to Duy Xuyen district to take part in the presentation of wheelchairs designed to be used in the terrain in this rural area of central Vietnam. In addition we were able to observe technicians in their work of measuring and making casts or molds for the future manufacture of prosthetic limbs. The entire process was well
coordinated by VNAH and the positive results were readily evident as we observed people who were able to independently transport themselves after years of being without appropriate equipment or support.

NCCD’s mandate is to begin coordination among various ministries in Viet Nam to ensure public access to people with disabilities and greater public awareness throughout Viet Nam to the issue of disability in general. Vietnam and all those who have helped are to be commended for its efforts and the advances that have been made in such a short period of time. With the inclusion of Vietnamese with disabilities in the development of policies and programs aimed at advancing their independence and self-sufficiency, Vietnam is undoubtedly headed in a positive direction for all. The US National Council on Disability and I are proud to be part of this progress.

Jeff Rosen is the General Counsel and Director of Policy for the National Council on Disability, www.ncd.gov.

Vietnam Youth Union
The Committee of Social Affairs of the National Assembly
USAID
Operations USA
Prosthetics Outreach Foundation

and many government agencies, officials, and individuals both in the United States and in Vietnam. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to continue to serve those in need.

Volunteers and Donors interested in helping VNAH's efforts can contract VNAH through: Vietnam Assistance for the Handicapped Volunteers, P.O. Box 6554, McLean, Virginia 22106 USA. Phone: 703-847-9582 Fax: 703-448-8208 Email: info@vnah-hev.org
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Open Positions


Social Media Intern

Viet-Nam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH) is looking for a Marketing Intern. The intern's major objectives are:

  1. To increase awareness of VNAH's works to give people an opportunity to join in the cause for a better Vietnam
  2. To keep all social media platforms current

 

Qualifications

  • Knowledge of social media platforms

Apply

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Ca Van Tran's Last Battle

For the Thousands of Victims crippled by war, this man's crusade is their only hope.

READER'S DIGEST. FEBRUARY 1997
BY JOSEPH A. REAVES

A brief summary of how VNAH was started with Ca Tran. This short documentary film was made by "Inside Edition" in mid 1994, broadcasted on NBC and other networks.

Ca Van Tran peered through his camera lens into Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City to record yet another image of Vietnam. 

Years ago, before he'd fled the city then known as Saigon, the sprawling warren of shops had been a favorite haunt. Crowded with American soldiers, the market was a daily street festival where vendors hawked everything from snake meat to bootleg cassettes.

It seemed different now. Everything is so gloomy, Tran thought. No one even smiles. Tran noticed two men about his age, both with legs amputated above the knee. With only cardboard to protect their truncated limbs from the rough pavement, they were using their arms to scoot along the dirty street.

They're probably former South Vietnamese soldiers, Tran thought, knowing those who fought alongside the Americans were offered little help by the new government. When one of the men made eye contact, Tran walked across the street and began to talk to them. Sure enough, they had fought in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN), and both had lost their legs to land mines.

These men fought for and believed in the same things I did, a shaken Tran thought. Now they are crawling around the filthy streets of Saigon, and I'm living in a mansion in America.

Tran had worked for the Americans during the war, and when he left in April 1975, he vowed that he would never return as long as the Communist Party controlled his country. But in 1990 his father's health was failing. Tran, by that time a wealthy 38-year- old businessman living in Great Falls, Virginia made the journey. When he reached his native village of Thang An. Tran was overjoyed to see his father, now on the mend, and his 17 -year-old son, who had never been allowed to leave Vietnam. But Thang An was still without electricity, its people impoverished.

Tran's blue jeans, shirt and sneakers, and confident manner immediately identified him as a Viet Kieu, an overseas Vietnamese, and officials seemed unsettled by his presence. Those who spoke with Tran were questioned by the police. For the sake of his family and friends, he bid them farewell and headed south to see the rest of the country. But the harsh reality of poverty and repression had ruined his homecoming. Just 11 days after his arrival, emotionally drained, Tran headed for home. On the long flight, Tran's anger turned to sadness. By the time he landed back in the United States, he was convinced he had to help.

WAR ENGULFED VIETNAM before Tran's birth in 1952, and it remained a relentless backdrop for most of his life. His oldest brother was killed fighting with Ho Chi Minh's troops against the French in 1953. But as the youngest of nine children, Tran was too little to know or care. By 1968, however, Tran's studies were disrupted by the communist Tet offensive. The young man, who spoke English, went to work as a translator for the U.S. Marines. He married Kim Hoa and moved to Saigon in 1972. Although awed by the might of the American military, he didn't understand the politics. Even when the Americans started pulling out, turning the bulk of the fighting over to ARVN troops, Tran still believe the South invincible.

On the morning of April 30, 1975, Tran was working for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) as a courier when the Americans evacuated their embassy. By early afternoon, the streets were mobbed. Amid the panic, Tran drove to the maternity hospital where his wife was working. Along with the remnants of the other families who begged to pushed their way into his car, Tran and Kim drove to the port. A 24-hour citywide curfew had been in effect, and the couple hadn't seen each other in three days. Their baby was staying with Tran's sister.

Waving his U.S. government identity card, Tran boarded a barge that shuttled him and Kim to a Navy ship carrying 3000 refugees. Tran and Kim expected to return to their son in a few days when the fighting ended, but Saigon fell to the Communists. Stricken, they realized they wouldn't be going back any time soon.

NINE DAYS after the fall of Saigon, Tran and Kim were in suburban Washing- ton, wandering through Springfield Mall. Tran got a job sweeping the place for $2 an hour. When the mall closed, Tran and Kim sneaked into a narrow freight corridor and slept on the concrete floor. They lived in the mall for several nights until they found lodging in a townhouse with co-workers. Tran walked three miles to work while Kim learned English and brought in money as a baby sitter. The menial work helped Tran for- get the child he had left behind.

Tran became a cook's helper in a Mexican fast-food restaurant, and quickly rose to manager. All the while, he worked at two or three other jobs. From these humble beginnings Tran moved up the ladder and started putting money away. After a few years, he had saved enough to open a small Mexican fast-food restaurant, Taco Amigo; then a second and a third. By 1989 he owned five Taco Amigo restaurants and had an eight- bedroom, million-dollar house on five acres of woodland.

Tran's wealth was the harvest of more than a decade of single-minded dedication-all driven by guilt and tragedy. He and Kim knew that their son was safe and living with a relative. But Vietnamese authorities refused to issue the boy the necessary travel documents. Kim sent him letters and gifts, but the mail was a poor substitute for hugs. So Tran threw himself into his work-until his body was so tired he couldn't think of his native land.

THE EMOTIONS roiled up by Tran's trip were not easily soothed. Haunted by images of the broken men he had seen in Vietnam, Tran wrote to the country's prime minister and the secretary- general of the Communist Party. Then he met Vietnam's ambassador to the United Nations. "I don't care about politics," Tran told him. "I care about my people. They need help. The government has failed the people."

Realizing there was little hope of timely official action, Tran founded Viet-Nam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH). This non-profit, non-partisan humanitarian relief organization would provide artificial limbs, wheelchairs and vocational training for amputees in Vietnam. Tran knew nothing about medical relief or fund-raising, but he didn't care. His organization's charter pledged to provide assistance to the handicapped "on an equal-access basis without regard to social or political status." Officials in Vietnam estimate that the country has over 200,000 amputees.

AS THE DILAPIDATED BUS bumped along Highway 1 toward Da Nang in January 1992, Tran went over numbers in his head. Even with the discounts offered by one of America's leading prosthetics companies, the $800 cost of artificial limbs was prohibitively high. If Tran could not make prosthetics at a fraction of that cost, his effort to help amputees couldn't survive.

As he stepped off the bus, Tran nearly tripped over an amputee in a baseball cap. Nguyen Cong Phuong used his massive arms to propel him- self along the pavement, as two planks of wood like skateboards without wheels-scraped along the ground and protected what was left of his legs. At the sight of Phuong, all Tran's thoughts of money and organizational woes faded away. This is why I'm here, Tran told himself. As they talked, Tran learned Phuong's history: He had been a strapping 32-year-old para- trooper in 1974 when, in the heat of combat, he tripped a land mine. Now, with a wife and two children to sup- port, Phuong begged for food. Tran listened intently, jotted down a few notes and snapped a picture. One day a van showed up and the driver unloaded a wheelchair, compliments of VNAH. Nineteen years after losing his legs, Phuong had re- gained his mobility. To reduce manufacturing costs, Tran set up two centers in Vietnam, producing some 200 prostheses a month for less than $50 apiece. Since 1992, Tran has supplied 18,QOO artificial limbs and 1000 wheelchairs to amputees. A sister organization, Volunteers for Health and Education, now helps displaced children in Vietnam. Outside Hanoi, he established the Ba Vi Vocational Training Center to teach job skills to the handicapped. Dealing with the Vietnamese bureaucracy has been a trial-while many officials supported his work others were suspicious. On one trip, Tran was arrested and questioned for four days.

Tran has the support of individuals such as former U.S. Admiral Elmo Zumwalt and U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy. Tran 's old employer. USAID, has provided $2.65 million to support his work, but government funding is never certain, and Tran has had to dip into his own pockets

As Tran's charitable work flourished, his restaurant business suffered. He has sold all but one of his restaurants, which Kim manages while he is on the road. But at least he has been able to take his son to America.

WITH HELP given to thousands of his native countrymen, Tran can't track the progress of everyone he has touched. But he maintains a special bond with Phuong, the young soldier who lost his legs to a land mine. When Phuong was fined the equivalent of $20 because he had failed to register his wheelchair, word quickly reached Tran. A few telephone calls made sure the harassment stopped.

Today, the 54-year-old Phuong is employed as a night watchman at an ice factory. During the day he sells lottery tickets at the market where he once begged. His wife and children are eating regularly, and more importantly, hope has been restored.

That's what it's all about, Tran now says. "We not only need to heal the physical wounds, but deal with the emotional scars as well. And restore hope where there was none."