November 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 7 
Cover Story

On their own two feet

On their own two feet

Boeing help provides mobility to Vietnamese people with disabilities


When a little girl named Phuong Thuy was examined earlier this year at Bach Mai Rehabilitation Centre in Hanoi, Vietnam, she had one request—that her left leg be amputated. The congenitally short leg made Thuy self-conscious about playing outside with her siblings and friends, and was likely to lead to curvature of her spine. But when center staffers asked her to try an orthoprosthesis instead of amputation, she agreed.

The option of an assistive device may not have been possible without a Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation (VVAF) program partially funded by Boeing.

In Vietnam, unexploded ordnance and landmines, along with birth defects and disease, have left an estimated 700,000 citizens needing assistive devices and physical therapy. The VVAF is one organization that's stepped up to fill that need.

Established in 1980 by a group of veterans of the U.S.-Vietnam War, the VVAF carries out humanitarian and rehabilitation programs and assistance in landmine removal around the world. The organization, which declares it has "transformed the American experience of the Vietnam War into a mission of compassion and justice," was instrumental in normalizing relations between the two nations, leading to the lifting of the U.S. trade embargo in 1994. The U.S.-Vietnam Bilateral Trade Agreement in December 2001 coincided with Vietnam Airlines' purchase of four Boeing 777-200ER airplanes.

The VVAF has operated a Physical Rehabilitation Program for Persons With Disabilities in Vietnam since 1994. In late 2004, the VVAF asked Boeing for a grant to support the purchase of materials and equipment to produce assistive devices at two hospitals in Hanoi and at Agape Hospital in rural Nam Dinh province. "Good corporate citizenship is integral to who we are as a company and important for us as a global business entity," said Paul Walters, regional vice president, Southeast Asia, Boeing International Relations. "We wanted to contribute to the Vietnamese community in a meaningful way, and we felt that working with the VVAF would ensure our contributions would be put to good use."

In Phuong Thuy's case, her assistive device changed a quiet girl who dreamed of having her leg cut off into one who could run and play. She's one of 1,241 patients who have been provided with 1,930 assistive devices since the Boeing grant.


Front Page
Contact Us | Site Map| Site Terms | Privacy | Copyright
Copyright© Boeing. All rights reserved.