HUE, VIETNAM—The walls of the Hope Centre, a small garment factory
founded in 1999, are covered in peeling paint. The bedrooms where the
workers live are basic: a handful of simple metal bed frames and a few
personal possessions. The donated sewing machines are outdated.
“We get very little financial support and it is hard for us to get
contracts and compete against other businesses that employ able-bodied
workers,” explains Nguyen Thi Hong.
The 54-year-old founder of the centre employs disabled young people. They are, she believes, victims of the Agent Orange dumped on Vietnam’s jungles 40 years ago.
The problem is proving it.
Medical reports have found “compelling evidence” linking a rise in
birth defects and miscarriages in Iraqi cities to toxic waste left over
from years of fighting. But in this central Vietnamese city the
cause-and-effect of modern disabilities and Vietnam War chemicals is not
so clear. Or it is not accepted as clear.
Part of the issue is whether the American government and chemical
manufacturers owe support and restitution to those suffering from bad
health and deformities that appear to be linked to Agent Orange.
READ MORE: http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/1299264--vietnamese-still-fighting-for-recognition-of-agent-orange-impact