Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities
Quang Bingh, Vietnam
While communities across Vietnam face the future threat of cyclones, floods, and landslides, others are still recovering from the shock of war– namely landmines and unexploded ordinance (UXO), a terrible legacy of Vietnam’s 20th century conflicts with the French, Americans, Khmer Rouge and Chinese. In Quang Binh, the province of Vietnam with the highest concentration of UXO, communities face both.
The result of this high concentration of UXO in Quang Binh has had its toll on the people living there. The province is home to 45,000 people with disabilities (PWD), the largest PWD population in the country, 90 percent of which lives in rural poverty.
The landscape of Quang Binh province is mostly mountainous, with steep descents to the province’s 100 kilometer coastline. As a result, it faces the threat of flash floods, floods and storms. In 2013, the province was hit by two strong storms, Wutip and Nari, causing 26 deaths and 490 injuries. In that same year, tens of thousands more were affected by floods, bringing all disaster related damages to over US$400 million. And while PWDs are identified as the most vulnerable population to disaster, no PWD-specific disaster risk management programs have been undertaken in Quang Binh.
That is why Give2Asia chose to support the Association for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (AEPD) through its disaster preparedness program. With this two-year $50,000 grant, AEPD will simultaneously improve the quality of life for PWDs while protecting this vulnerable community from the threat of natural disasters.
AEPD is a local NGO in Vietnam born out of the international humanitarian organization, Landmine Survivor Network. It works to realize an inclusive and shame-free society where PWDs can fulfill their potential, enjoy equal opportunity and contribute to their communities. In particular, AEPD focuses on PWDs who have been injured or disabled by landmines or UXO, or have lost limbs from other war-related injuries.
The grant will help AEPD begin community-based disaster risk management (CBDRM) work in the Quang Ninh district; an area heavily influenced the two main rivers surrounding it. AEPD will select 78 change agents from community groups and PWD clubs in the district, with a focus on women and the elderly, training them in CBDRM. These trainers will return to their organizations, and with AEPD assistance, lead disaster mitigation and preparedness activities, including education, risk assessments, and disaster planning. The PWD clubs hill hold emergency response drills and first aid trainings, and will implement early warning systems.
The lessons and priorities that come out of these activities will then be shared with local government officials in order to incorporate the needs and perspectives of PWDs into wider provincial plans.