Steffen Nguyen has been helping children affected by Agent Orange and napalm for the past 10 years. His own family was devastated by illness, cancer and other diseases that have prompted and motivated him to help others in his country.
Steffen is a tour guide and the founder of Danang Easyriders. Forty percent of the proceeds from the tour fees is given directly to charities arising from the motorbike tours. Ethnic Minority Villages are also assisted with a percentage of the fees going to aid the people living in these villages.
The Vietnam War has been over for more than 40 years but the effects of Agent Orange still lingers. Agent Orange was used by American forces to kill off anything providing cover (forest, agricultural fields) to the Viet Cong. Today it is still causing serious effects to human health.
11 million gallons of Agent Orange were poured over the South of Vietnam. Canadian scientist David Levi, studying the effects of Agent Orange, stated that –
“We should not think of this as a historical problem. This is a present day contamination issue”.
Chemicals incorporated in Agent Orange, such as TCCD, are know to cause cancer, brain damage and children born in contaminated areas today are three times more likley to be born with cleft palates, physical and mental disabilities, and are eight times more likely to suffer hernias, as well as a host of other birth defects. Still today, the US government denies any claims that Agent Orange affected human health during the War. Despite this, US vietnam war veterans can claim compensation for handling the chemical.
In Australia, the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia Inc (VVAA) was formed in late 1979 as a result of the perceptions of Vietnam veterans that exposure to chemicals was causing problems with their health and the health of their children.
The Australian Vietnam Veterans Reconstruction Group (AVVRG) was established in 1994 by a veteran of the war, Paul Murphy. On a visit to Ba Ria-Vung Tau, as Phuoc Tuy is now known, Murphy was moved by the poverty and the terrible state of the country’s infrastructure almost two decades after the end of the war. With a continuing embargo by the United States and other western countries, Vietnam remained mired in poverty, unable to recover from a war whose aftermath had involved further fighting in Cambodia and a brief conflict with China in 1979.
After contacting the local People’s Committee and identifying areas of need Murphy launched an Australia-wide fundraising programme to support projects in south Vietnam. Today the AVVRG counts among its members veterans of the war, members of their families and others who had no direct involvement in the conflict. Danang Easy Riders are very proud, grateful and humbled by the actions of these groups. We would like to assist them in continuing and honouring their vital legacy
By taking a tour with Steffen and Danang Easy Riders you can help many disadvantaged children who live in the isolated villages along the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Money raised from the tours is used to provide support and medical treatment for these children who suffer various disabilities.
Two such children Steffen has been instrumental in helping are CoTu and Y Hanh. Ten years old CoTu ,from the village of Kotu was born with both visual and hearing impairments. His family is poor and cannot provide adequate treatment for him. Money from the tours has been used to provide him with medical assistance and improve his living conditions but he will need more money for ongoing treatment in the future.
Y Hanh from the M’nong ethnic village was born with badly deformed legs which prevented him from learning to walk. He was one year old when Steffen met him. The American family on tour with Steffen offered to adopt Y hanh and take him back to the U.S. where his condition could be treated. He has since had a successful operation on his legs and is now able to walk.
By taking a tour with Danang Easy Riders you can enjoy a memorable trip through places few other tourists experience and at the same time provide much needed assistance to the local ethnic people who live in these remote areas. You will be amazed by the spectacular scenery, mountains, jungles, rivers and waterfalls and be welcomed warmly by the genuine, friendly local villagers. An experience never to forget and the knowledge that you are helping to provide much needed assistance to people who need it.