A Californian woman has raised more than $1.6 million selling crafts made by disabled Vietnamese artists to finance operations to treat illnesses believed to be linked to the spraying of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War.
Since 1998, Marichia Simcik Arese’s Spiral Foundation has raised more than $1.6 million selling handmade items fashioned by disabled youth in Hue. The proceeds finance rehabilitation, job training and surgeries for Vietnamese suffering from congenital defects believed to be linked to the spraying of Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Neither U.S. nor Vietnamese authorities accept that dioxin in Agent Orange is behind the high incidence of birth defects, which include cleft palate, spina bifida and heart defects, found in villages sprayed by Agent Orange. But Arese and her Vietnamese counterpart, Dr. Nguyen Viet Nhan, are not waiting. They are raising money to treat as many of the disabled youth of Vietnam as possible, regardless of the cause of the disability.
Video produced by Los Angeles Times videographers Katy Newton and Sean
Connelley, with a grant from the Ford Foundation, created during a
fellowship with the Vietnam Reporting Project and the Renaissance