Ms. Jerilyn Brusseau, PeaceTrees Vietnam’s co-founder and first president (centre, blue shirt) takes a photo with guests at the event on Monday evening. — VNS Photo Kiều Vân
HÀ NỘI — This year marks PeaceTrees Vietnam’s 25 years of tireless endeavours in its humanitarian mission to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO) in the heavily bombarded Quảng Trị Province, said Nguyễn Phương Nga, President of the Việt Nam Union of Friendship Organisations.
She was speaking at the reception on Monday evening in Hà Nội, in honour of its 25 years of operation in Việt Nam.
Since 1995, it has decontaminated about 48,000 hectares and handled nearly 118,000 explosives, as well as planted thousands of trees on safe land.
Its emergency and long-term medical assistance to landmine survivors has contributed to the population’s health, while providing effective support to areas with inadequate public and private healthcare services.
It has granted 2,000 scholarships for UXO survivors and livelihood support programmes for their families have helped minimise the aftermath on local socio-economic development.
It co-ordinated with the Women’s Union of the central province to build 16 schools and 12 libraries to make sure that children and families have access to education.
“Such a unique status has enabled the organisation to bring about substantive changes to the livelihoods of thousands of inhabitants of Quảng Trị – being Việt Nam’s most heavily UXO contaminated province,” Nga said.
Claire Yunker, Executive Director of PeaceTrees Vietnam said at the event: “PeaceTrees at heart, is a citizen diplomacy organisation. Former adversaries came together 25 years ago, with profound humility and deep respect, to build bridges of trust and understanding between the people of our countries.”
“This spirit has helped us achieve remarkable results in the areas of Humanitarian Mine Action, Post-Clearance Development, and continued Citizen Diplomacy.”
PeaceTrees Vietnam (PTVN) is the first foreign NGO to be licenced to operate in Việt Nam in the field of mine clearance.
“I am convinced the libraries and schools PTVN has built and supported will continue to have a positive impact on the local communities for many years to come,” Nguyễn Phương Nga said.
In 2019, PeaceTrees Vietnam worked together with the Việt Nam Union of Friendship Organisations and the Việt Nam-USA Society to organise two meetings between Vietnamese and American veterans and their families.
“Looking ahead, much remains to be done to address war legacies in Việt Nam, including UXO clearance,” said Nga.
An important task is to help Quảng Trị to achieve the goal of becoming the country’s first UXO-safe province by 2025.
In 2019, the Vietnamese President conferred an Order of Friendship on Ms. Jerilyn Brusseau, PeaceTrees Vietnam’s co- founder and first president. — VNS