25 February, 2008
Barker announces grant for Vietnam Friendship Village
Veterans' Affairs Minister, Rick Barker, today announced a New Zealand Government contribution of US$ 25,000 (NZ$32,000) for the Vietnam Friendship Village in Ha Noi.
The Friendship Village provides health and educational opportunities to Vietnamese veterans and their children and the grant will go towards improving the Village water supply and electrical facilities.
Rick Barker is currently in Viet Nam with an official delegation of six New Zealand veterans.
“The delegation in exploring connections between veterans’ groups in New Zealand and Vietnam and builds on the recent visit to New Zealand by Vietnamese President, Nguyen Minh Triet,” Mr Barker said.
“The links being made between veterans is an important step in broadening the people-to-people relationships between Viet Nam and New Zealand.
“The contribution to the Vietnam Friendship Village is a further means of extending the hand of friendship between Viet Nam and New Zealand.”
The New Zealand delegation was welcomed by Senior Colonel Dang Vu Dung, Director of the Village. Senior Colonel Dung thanked the Minister for the New Zealand Government’s generosity and looked forward to stronger relations with New Zealand veterans in future.
The Vietnam Friendship Village was established ten years ago with the support of veterans from a number of countries. Run by the Veterans’ Association of Vietnam, the village houses a health centre, accommodation blocks, special education classrooms, vocational training facilities and an administration block. More than 1,000 veterans and 500 children have passed through the village during its first ten years of operation.
Male and female veterans come to the village in groups of forty, receiving medical treatment, food and other subsidies for up to three months at a time.
Children of veterans, many of whom suffer physical and mental disabilities, spend up to three years receiving medical care and basic education. Vocational training is also provided to facilitate their reintegration into the community on their return home. Computer and IT skills, embroidery and flower-making skills are taught.