Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Hà Nội International Women’s Club (HIWC) has awarded the Vision Award for Inspiring Women to Doctor Khuất Thị Hải Oanh, a woman who has worked to address the plight of some of Việt Nam’s most marginalised people.
Doctor Oanh is the founder and director of the Centre for Supporting Community Development Initiatives (SCDI). She has dedicated her professional life to improving access to reproductive healthcare and to raising HIV/AIDS awareness among Việt Nam’s at-risk groups. She also advises government policymakers regularly on tackling drug use, according to the HIWC.
“A talented, intelligent and ambitious woman like Oanh could have chosen any career path. She could have taken the path to wealth or self-advancement. Instead she took a difficult and challenging route by making it her mission to improve the lives of people living at the very edges of society,” Gill Lever, the president of the HIWC, said.
“For this, Oanh deserves enormous respect and admiration and we are delighted to be able to honour her with the award.”
Doctor Oanh said the HIWC’s Vision Award was a “wonderful surprise” for her.
Oanh said that it was a huge honour for her to be granted this award by the HIWC, the first organisation to fund the Bright Future Group – a community organisation for people living with HIV in Hà Nội.
With HIWC funding, Bright Future was able to set up Cafe PP, a safe place for people living with HIV to meet and interact, in 2002.
“At that time people living with HIV were severely stigmatised and discriminated against. Being infected with HIV was equal to a painful and shameful death,” said Oanh.
“I have visited Cafe PP many times and witnessed the movement grow. This movement has contributed to shape my professional path and my life as a person. This award, therefore, is very special for me. It comes from my fellow women. The award is even more precious to me because of the connection I just shared. I’m so proud and so moved,” said Oanh.
In 2007 Oanh founded the Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS. The Partnership brings together hundreds of non-governmental organisations and institutions in coordinated efforts to combat HIV and AIDS.
Oanh was recognised as a “Young Global Leader” in 2009 by the World Economic Forum.
The HIWC is an international group with over 450 members of all ages, backgrounds and walks of life hailing from nearly 70 countries. — VNS