On Friday, my husband and I went to see a movie and slide show presented by a Vietnam vet who has spent the last 15 years working with the people of My Lai, Vietnam to try to heal the wounds of war. His work is sponsored by the Friends Meeting in Madison, Wisconsin.
We were deeply touched by the presentation and the good work that these folks are doing. It started with a Peace Park on the site of the My Lai massacre, with trees planted by Vietnam vets and Vietnamese people working together. Mike Boehm went on to work with the Quang Ngai province women's union to determine what sorts of
projects are needed by the people of the My Lai area.
Since that time, the group has built a clinic, three schools, and a fair number of houses in Quang Ngai province. They've also been running a micro-loan program for the women of Quang Ngai province, serving almost 3000 women and with a payback rate of 98%.
Mike's group is the only NGO working that the Vietnamese government trusts to work with ethnic minority groups in central Vietnam. The ethnic minorities live in remote areas in extreme poverty (even more extreme than the poverty in the rest of Quang Ngai province).
This group seems to be doing a great deal of good on very little money. Their goals go beyond economic aid, to the empowerment of Vietnamese women, improved relations between the Vietnamese and Americans, and a hope that we can find ways to build peace in the world.
Our family is planning on including this work in our holiday giving this year. I strongly encourage anyone with a little extra to give to consider giving to one of the My Lai projects.
Even if you don't have any extra money to give this year, take a look at the site anyway. It's wonderful to know that there are people doing this sort of work in the world.