http://youtu.be/TqfaFjykYYg

I finally got to meet Chuck, an American Vietnam Veteran who invited Angela & I to spend Thanksgiving in Da Nang. For a Vietnamese adoptee who was brought up in London; this was a surreal but amazing experience!

Our first stop was having a Thanksgiving lunch at the Bread of Life, which is a lovely restaurant, owned by Americans that trains disabled Vietnamese people in the restaurant business. Chuck introduced us to his friend & work colleague who happened to be Ameriasian & had returned to Vietnam.  It just so happened that he also owned a home in Go Vap & he kindly invited us to have a Thanksgiving in the evening once we finished our itinerary.

Our next stop was to meet Ms. Hien who is the President of Danang Association for Agent Orange Victims. Ms. Hien was so lovely & reminded me of Co Loan who is the Director of my old orphanage (Go Vap), very kind & gentle yet very strong & determined. We then went on to visit the Da Nang airbase which has been closed off as it is contaminated with Agent Orange. We all had terrible headaches & felt sick from standing on there for just a few minutes. Ms. Hien shouted at Angela & I to hurry up & get off the site as we are young & want to have children. In the evening, I must admit, I did throw up! I know this may sound crazy but I felt a strong urge to visit the site as I’ve been helping the children who have been affected by AO; I knew the risks and some part of me wanted to stand there and challenge Monsanto & Dow to come & stand there too! It does make me wonder what they would say if I did challenge them to stand on the hotspots then volunteer with the children who have AO… Perhaps they would then give in & compensate the victims… but knowing how much Monsanto is good at getting out of court cases, I doubt it very much indeed!

Ms. Hien then took us to the new centre she created for the children affected by Agent Orange and I was amazed at what she had built for them! The centre has workshops & teachers but needs more aid & funding to help sustain it. I loved her passion & sustainable development ideas, so was more than happy to assist in any way. Luckily I was carrying the donations with me, so was able to hand over money for pigs & chickens to the centre. Chuck was such a gentleman & agreed to update Angela & I when they had been bought.

Once we had finished at the centre, Ms. Hien took us to visit a poor family who had been affected by Agent Orange.  I’d like to think I was healthy & fit, but oh boy, walking up to their home showed me that I really needed to exercise! Their home was at the top of a hill so we had to walk over uneven land & streams… Once we got to the top a motorbike came which carried a little boy who had cerebral palsy & who had the cutest smile ever! We went inside the small home & a little old lady greeted us; she appeared far older than her years & once I saw her carry another son out by herself, I understood why. The bedroom in which the other son slept smelt of urine, but I could see that this lady did everything to keep the home as clean as possible; it was just that her other son was completely bedridden & could not move by himself. Angela, Ms. Hien, Chuck & I then handed over some of the aid we brought with us from London & America. What touched my heart was how appreciative the young CP boy was with all of the items, and in particular the handmade teddy bears that our Scottish donors, Anne & Joan Laing (mother & grandma of my VVN volunteer Jennifer) had knitted with so much love & care! That little boy embraced the teddy bear & he was overjoyed to just hold it in his arms. So many kids in developed countries get the latest electronic video games, but to see him play with his teddy bear just melted my heart! In fact I completely fell for that little boy and he was quite a whiz with my camera too. From the position of the small home, I could tell that a wheelchair would not have been any use, so asked the family what would actually help them. Their first response was a cow, so we handed the money over to Ms Hien & once again Chuck said he would be there for the exchange & update us. It was time to leave the family and saying tambiet was very hard but I know I will return to visit them & extend the Vietnam Volunteer Network’s aid to more poor Agent Orange families. Ms Hien then took us back to her office where she gave Angela, Chuck & I receipts as well as made us members of her organisation.  I do hope that we can provide more aid to her organisation as well as volunteers; in the interim I can at least do my part in highlighting the amazing work that her organisation does.

It was time to eat again so Chuck took us round to his friend’s home. I absolutely loved his friend for making us feel so at home. In addition, it was so lovely to see that he had also invited all of his employees to his beautiful home to participate in Thanksgiving. The food was very delicious as him mum had cooked it and you could see how much love & care had gone into making this meal as she knew in advance that Angela was a vegetarian. As I was adopted & sent to London, England, I do not celebrate Thanksgiving as that’s an American celebration. However, I truly loved participating in this celebration as during my time in Da Nang, I was made to feel like part of the family & met a lot of amazing people who gave of themselves every day.

Thank you to our following donors, without your help I would not be able to help these Agent Orange victims: Vietnam Volunteer Network, Angela Rauscher (& work colleagues), Reaching Out & Artists For Orphans.

A special thank you to Angela, Chuck & Ms. Hien!

I you would like to volunteer or donate to help the Agent Orange victims we support, please email info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com.

Together we can make a difference!

Love & light,

Kim xox

Kim Nguyen Browne

CEO & Found

Vietnam Volunteer Network

E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com

Whttp://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 (0) 7813 112216

Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork

Posted by: kimnguyenbrowne | 13/01/2012

18-26 Nov 2011 Go Vap Orphanage


My first week in Vietnam was hectic as Angela & I had to fly off to Hue & Da Nang for our other projects; in fact the whole trip was hectic but fun & very productive!

I first landed on 18th Nov & was greeted at the airport by the Director of Go Vap orphanage & some friends who are also staff members of GVO. I only had a couple of hours to rest & change as I had to give an induction to Ha Thu (young Uni student from Nottingham but who is from Hanoi) & Andrew who is an Osteopath from Australia.

Even though I was exhausted from travelling all the way from London, my excitement at seeing the children again as well as my old orphanage was keeping my adrenalin up! I was just so excited about holding Nhat in my arms again! It had been 11 months since I last saw him & had braced myself that he may have forgotten me… Nhat did not forget me but was obviously angry at me for being a way so long, so even though he let me pick him up, he would not let me kiss him… I knew not to push it but the next day I returned, Nhat jumped into my arms & gave me so many kisses! I was so relieved & extremely happy that my little boy forgave me so fast!

I was also very excited as I would be meeting a few of my volunteers who had previously volunteered at GVO via the Vietnam Volunteer Network & it was an honour to meet Angela (US) who had volunteered for me in 2009, Rickard (SE) who had volunteered earlier in the year as well as Kate (AUS) who had also volunteered for me in August & who I had consequently made my Australian VVN representative. During the week I also got to meet & give an induction to my other volunteers; Quynh (local Vietnamese) who is reporter for SGGP News & Dan who is a volunteer & donor from England who is a pilot for Vietnam Airlines!

A busy but certainly fun week at GVO with the children, and as you can see we ate so much delicious food that the staff prepared for us. I was surprised that the airlines let me on the planes that week as I’m sure I had put on an extra 5 kilos, so luckily they didn’t weigh me or else they would have charged me for extra baggage lol!

You can view photos on this link:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150566238049439.437918.128611384438&type=1

If you would like to donate or volunteer to help the children & projects we support, please email info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com.

Together we can make a difference!

Love & light,
Kim xox

Kim Nguyen Browne
CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
W: http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 (0) 7813 112216
Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork


Jenni & Kate

Jenni & Kate

Since I founded the Vietnam Volunteer Network back in 2007, I have been truly blessed to have had so much support from wonderful people, other organisations & companies who have volunteered or donated to help the children! I have always been truly amazed at all of the kindred spirits I have encountered & I certainly know this is one of the many reasons which helps me to drive my aid & volunteers for the children in need, as these people truly give from their hearts!

Apart from the special children I support & love so very much; one of the other reasons I am passionate about the work I do is that I also get approached by fellow adult Vietnamese adoptees who want to give back or from parents who want to adopt, or have recently adopted from Vietnam or even from my old orphanage, Go Vap which is in HCM City.

A few months I was contacted by a lovely American lady called Jenni; she had adopted a beautiful little girl called Kate from Go Vap orphanage & wanted to donate to my Vietnam Volunteer Network.

I always appreciate & am so grateful for any donation that comes in to help the kids the Vietnam Volunteer Network supports, but what also touched my heart about this loving donation was Kate’s older brother Zane who had kindly donated $5 towards the $ 270 USD cheque (our 1st cheque!) his mum generously donated!

Kate & Zane’s adorable hand made cards & messages just made me cry so many tears of joy & even made my mum cry when she read their letters! These two beautiful children have such big hearts & are so aware of the children back at Go Vap orphanage, it is obvious that this also has a lot to do with all the love their parents have given them!

When I return to Go Vap orphanage on 18th November 2011, I will certainly buy Christmas toys & aid with this money and show the children at Go Vap the pictures of this beautiful family. I know that the special kids at Go Vap will be so happy that their sister & her new family have not forgotten them! Knowing this is what will bring the orphans at Go vap the most joy!

To see children helping children is the most beautiful act of love. This act of love reminds & inspires me every day that no matter what awful things we sometimes see humans do to each other, there are also so many good people in the world that we do not get to hear about! My dreams & hopes that one day we will live in a world of peace & love seems that little bit more achievable now, thanks to these two beautiful children.

Zane & Kate

Zane & Kate

Sending you all much love & appreciation,

Kim xox

Kim Nguyen Browne
CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
T: +44 (0) 7813 112216
Skype: vietnamvolunteernetwork

							

Phuong is from Go Vap orphanage. He is partially blind but he is like any other young boy & music is his passion!

 


With your money our volunteers, Christie Ton & Arthur Zak bought Phuong a keyboard.

Thank you to our donors & supporters for helping us to make Phuong’s dream come true!

 


We are now looking for music teachers who will volunteer their time & teach Phuong about music & how to use his new keyboard.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to help the special children we support, please visit our website or email us at info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com

http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/donate.html

Together we can make a difference!

Kim Nguyen Browne
CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
W: http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 (0) 7813 112216
Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork

 


A big thank you to all of our very generous donors & supporters! Some of your funds went towards toys for the Agent Orange children we support at Tu Du Peace Village!

Thank you also to our amazing volunteers Kate Loring, Christie Ton, Arthur Zak & Nguyen Ngoc Huy for buying & delivering the toys on behalf of the Vietnam Volunteer Network!

If you would like to volunteer or donate to help the special children we support, please visit our website or email us at info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com

http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/donate.html

Together We Can Make A Difference!

Kim Nguyen Browne
CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
W: http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 (0) 7813 112216
Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork

Posted by: kimnguyenbrowne | 04/08/2011

10th August – The 50th Anniversary of Agent Orange


Ever since I was a child, I tried to learn as much as about my birth country, Vietnam to understand the consequences of War & why my birth mother may have had to give me up for adoption. During my research I discovered the effects of Agent Orange & what it had done to the Vietnamese people & the American, Australian etc soldiers & their families even after the war had ended.

On 10th August 1961 the US first sprayed Agent Orange, a toxic defoliant containing dioxin over Vietnam as part of its herbicidal warfare programme called ‘Operation Ranch hand’. It appears that the companies who manufactured AO, as well as the US government actually knew about the cancers & adverse health effects but still carried out with Operation Ranch hand & did not even warn the soldiers who sprayed the defoliant!

The images of the unborn babies who were deformed from Agent Orange were etched in my mind & I knew that when I was older I would want to give back to Vietnam in any way I could & help the children who did survive & suffered from such birth defects. It was not until I first volunteered at my old orphanage in 2007 that I first met Sao (Six), she was the same age as me, but was a lot smaller & had obvious Agent Orange deformities. Sao was allowed to stay on at Go Vap orphanage & was given a job to help around there. Despite my lack of being able to communicate in Vietnamese, Sao & I bonded as though we were long lost sisters. Even though I’ve always known I was lucky to be adopted, meeting Sao instantly made me realise about how lucky I was to be given the chance to live without any Agent Orange health related issues. From that moment, I knew that I had to keep my promise to the children & return to help in any way I could.

When I first met the children who had Agent Orange; all I could see was what amazing & affectionate personalities they had despite their disabilities & felt that even though I was there to volunteer & help them, they in fact were showing & teaching me about how to share & love others. These are the most giving children you could ever wish to meet & they are truly inspirational role models! My passion is to ensure they are given as much sustainable aid as possible to help them develop into independent adults as these children certainly deserve the best in life!

As the Vietnam Volunteer Network grew, so did my contact with other organisations; such as & to name a few, Kids Without Borders, Doc Bernie Duff’s Agent Orange Carers, Agent Orange Legacy, Daughters of Vietnam Veterans, Make Agent Orange History & Len Aldis’ Britain Vietnam friendship Society etc. It was as if destiny had made sure we all connected at the right time as we were able to see each other’s sufferings from all sides & have joined together with swapping information about our projects & missions for all those who suffered during & post the Vietnam War era.
So often we see how our governments can send young men & women off to War, yet do not appreciate the soldiers or their families for the sacrifices made. Being brought up in London, I always see how our Governments & especially the American government can criticise other countries for chemical warfare & atrocities, which is certainly the right & humane thing to do.

With my upbringing & values, I firmly believe that the US chemical companies such as Monsanto & Dow Chemical should compensate ALL the victims who suffer from Agent Orange & that the governments should also make the Agent Orange benefit claim process a lot easier & fairer for the veterans & their families! Owning up to a mistake & compensating can only make our governments look stronger & not so hypocritical the next time they criticise another country for human rights issues.

I firmly believe that prevention is better than cure, so I am very happy to see that the organisation ‘Make Agent Orange History’ is trying to raise awareness about Agent Orange & am delighted that the U.S.-Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin have at least started with a 10 year plan of action to clean up the dioxin hotspots in Vietnam! If you would like to know more about Agent Orange Day, please visit this site & I sincerely hope that you will change your Facebook profile picture to help raise awareness & commemorate all the victims of Agent Orange! http://makeagentorangehistory.org/stand-together-on-agent-orange-day/

However, in order to get justice for ALL the AO victims, I personally think that a combined effort between the people & countries who suffer from Agent Orange is required as there are too many individual petitions, whereas a group effort would have a much better impact & result!

If you would like to volunteer & help the special children we support in Vietnam in any way you can, please do not hesitate to contact info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com.

Together we can make a difference!
Kim
Kim Nguyen Browne

CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
W: http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 (0) 7813 112216
Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork


Bowling Girl

It is always so wonderful to receive queries about volunteering but especially so when you receive a lovely email from a parent who has adopted a child from your old orphanage!

The lovely Canadian lady who contacted me saw my YouTube video, which I had created to show what the donations for the Adult Vietnamese Adoptee Care Day for Go Vap orphanage had bought last April 2010.

You can view the clip on this link:
http://www.youtube.com/user/KimDreamVietnam#p/u/4/OaURQ0-WLUc

Sarah Thanh was adopted in January 2011, so I am asking all of the Vietnamese adoptees that came with me to the Go Vap Orphanage Care Days as well as any volunteers or visitors to please look through your photos & send me any pictures you may have of this darling angel.

Sarah’s mum has also updated me with wonderful news that her daughter’s club foot has now been fixed and she is happily riding her bicycle!

Sarah Thanh On The Left In Her New Home

Sarah Thanh On The Left In Her New Home

Thank you all so much in advance for taking time out to help this wonderful mum so she can show Sarah her history & life whilst she was at Go Vap.

Together we can make a difference!

Love & light,

Kim xox

CEO & Founder
Vietnam Volunteer Network
Together We Can Make A Difference!
E: knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com
W: http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/
UK T: +44 7813 11 22 16
Skype: VietnamVolunteerNetwork

Posted by: kimnguyenbrowne | 30/04/2011

36 Years Ago Today: Remembering The End Of The Vietnam War


Kim Nguyen Browne Foto: © 2009 Anh Ðào Kolbe

Today is a very special day for me as 36 years ago I was one of the last babies to be flown out of Vietnam. I was only a couple of months old when I left, without much documentation except the name of my adopted parents and my birth name, Nguyễn Sơn Thủy, so I have no memories of my past in Vietnam.

I am lucky that my wonderful British adoptive parents had always encouraged me to learn about Vietnam’s history & to learn about the War, why I was adopted & to always remember & thank my birth mother & the people who had brought me to them. I truly believe that I was destined to be with my adoptive family & am so grateful to them for all the love & support they have always given me.

My family: Reunification palace, Vietnam 2001.

My family: Reunification palace, Vietnam 2001.

My adopted sister Mia who is from Thailand & I

My adopted sister Mia who is from Thailand & I

Naturally, I do think about what my birth mother looked like & what she had to go through to have to give me up & I also think about all of the soldiers on both sides who fought in the Vietnam War as well as all the lives that were lost & families on both sides who are still coping with the trauma of that War. I suppose you could say that I sometimes feel guilty for being so content with my life as I know how many lives were lost…
My birth mothers name was Nguyễn Thi Li & I was placed at Go Vap orphanage & I am looking to find her to say thank you for giving birth to me & that I am happy with the family I was adopted into. I understand that if a mother gives up her child, then she will never forget that baby & if my birth mother is still alive I don’t want her to have any feelings of guilt & want to let her know she made the right decision as I was given to the most loving family you could ever wish to meet!

I am also looking for a very brave & kind lawyer named Madame Trung Ngoc Dieu who was in constant liaison with my adopted mum & (Mr. & Mrs. Browne).
Madame Dieu was very brave as she did her best to get me onto the Daily Mail flight for orphans, but for some reason I missed that flight & on the last days in April she managed to put me onto the last flight with another undocumented baby on an American or Canadian flight or with an American or Canadian pilot.
In the last communication Madame Dieu had with my mother, she mentioned that she would try to settle in France or in the US after the war…

As well as the company I used to work for (Danone); Son Michael Pham from Kids without Borders helped me to return & volunteer at Go Vap orphanage in 2007 with my adopted mum. A lovely journlaist from NY who was returning to Vietnam with her American Vietnam Veteran dad created this video for me.

My mum & I with the retired Sisters/Nuns From Go Vap Orphanage

My mum & I with the retired Sisters/Nuns From Go Vap Orphanage

If anyone has information about my birth mother or the people who helped to fly me out of Vietnam, please contact me at knb@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com.

I am so happy that my journey to look for my birth mother has brought me into contact with so many wonderful people & I feel as though I have gone full cirlce with my life. The work that I do now with my organisation Vietnam Volunteer Network is to help the orphans, poor & sick children who suffer from Agent Orange related illnesses in Vietnam. Even if I never my find my birth mother or those people who helped me, then I can certainly say I’ve enjoyed this journey that my life has brought me on.

Love, Light & Peace!
Kim
xox

Kim & The Children At Go Vap Orphanage

Kim & The Children At Go Vap Orphanage

Posted by: kimnguyenbrowne | 12/04/2011

New Launch: VVN Twitter Tuesday!


Good morning & welcome to the new VVN Twitter Tuesday!

Every Tuesday please feel free to Twitter me questions about volunteering with the children at Go Vap Orphanage, Twitter account @VietnamVNetwork.

If you do not have a Twitter account then please visit the Vietnam Volunteer Network page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Vietnam-Volunteer-Network/128611384438) to catch up on what’s been happening.

Together we Can Make A Difference!



Dear All,

If you would like to know what a volunteer gets up to on a volunteering trip to one of our orphanages in Vietnam, then please read our lovely Marion Chan’s wonderful blog on her time at Go Vap orphanage.

Marion’s blog is so inspiring; as well as giving an inside look at the emotional side of being a volunteer, what our volunteers do as well as what to expect & balancing volunteering with actually enjoying what Vietnam has to offer.
I sincerely hope Marion’s blog inspires you to also volunteer and to help make that difference!

Marion Chan’s blog:
http://soybic2011.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html
You can view Marion’s pictures on this link:
http://on.fb.me/gK9tx8

You can view our other volunteers blog’s & experiences on this link:

http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/hot-off-the-blog.html

If you would like to volunteer or contribute in any way, please do not hesitate to contact us at info@vietnamvolunteernetwork.com

Love & light,
Kim
Founder

http://www.vietnamvolunteernetwork.com/

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