Action for the Community Development Centre (ACDC) – Sexual and Reproductive Heath Education and Health Checks for Women with Disabilities
ACDC was set up by people with disabilities to work towards a barrier-free society for people with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.
One of the critical issues tackled by ACDC is access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for women with disabilities. Very limited information on sexual and reproductive health is available through the school system or mainstream health services. Misunderstandings are common in Vietnamese society about the rights and capacity of people with disabilities to get married, have healthy and fulfilling sexual relationships and have children.
HIWC has supported Cactus Blooming training in Hanoi and northern Vietnam since 2013. In 2016 HIWC supported ACDC’s efforts to improve access to sexual and reproductive health information and services through the “Cactus Blooming” project. The project focused on the needs of women with disabilities in a rural community in Phu Xuyen District, in the outskirts of Hanoi. A female doctor and reproductive health specialist ran training sessions aimed at increasing the women’s knowledge on a range of reproductive health topics, and helped build their confidence by encouraging them ask questions and discuss reproductive health issues. Sixty women attended the sessions, which also served to raise awareness at local authority level about the rights of women with disabilities concerning relationships, marriage and pregnancy.
The second main activity of the Cactus Blooming project is to provide reproductive health screening check-ups and counselling advice for women with disabilities. 115 women took part, many of whom had never had access to these services before. These services are badly needed as many women suffer from untreated gynaecological problems. Cactus Blooming raised awareness among health service providers – as well as women themselves – of the special needs of this group of women. All the women participating in the training and the health screenings received a reproductive health care handbook designed for women with disabilities, also funded by HIWC.
Founder of ACDC Nguyen Thi Lan Anh was awarded HIWC’s Vision Award for Inspiring Women in 2013.
Sympameals – Radiotherapy Treatment and Meal Coupons for Poor Women from Rural Areas suffering from Late Stage Cancers
Sympameals was founded in 2005 and is a volunteer-run charitable organisation that has been helping underprivileged cancer patients at the K Hospital in Hanoi with food vouchers, free medical treatments and other support. Since 2009 HIWC has funded two projects. The Meal Coupon Project funds food vouchers for poor women cancer patients from rural areas, allowing them to have one nutritious meal per day or vouchers for milk (a food that can be swallowed by patients with sore throats caused by radiotherapy treatment). Without the vouchers, the women cannot afford to eat properly due to the expense of their treatment and the burden they feel this places on their families. The Cancer Treatment Project finances treatment for poor women from rural areas, provides educational material about cancer prevention and treatment and gives warm blankets to patients treated during winter
The HIWC funded projects help women who are already financially vulnerable, even before their expenses spike because of cancer treatment and transportation costs. The support provided relieves the financial pressure on families. About 50-60% of the patients Sympameals supports with cancer treatment live on average for another 2 years. This gives them valuable time with their families and allows them to make arrangements for after they pass away. Sympameals hope that the information they provide on cancer prevention, early detection and treatment options will over time help reduce the number of deaths.
Founder of Sympameals, Ms Phan Nguyet Anh, was HIWC Vision Award for Inspiring Women in 2011. HIWC members also nominated Sympameals as a beneficiary of the Club’s annual auction lunch charity fund raiser in 2017.
Asia Injury Protection Foundation (AIPF) – Genital Reconstruction Surgeries and Medical Examinations and Outpatient Clinical Care for Children
AIPF works primarily in road safety in three African and three SE Asian countries including Vietnam, distributing helmets and raising road safety awareness. But since 2011 AIPF has also run a “Genital Reconstruction Surgery for Children Program” to help children suffering from genital deformity as a result of congenital problems or traumatic injury. The story begins with a small boy, Thien Nhan, abandoned at birth and left to die in the jungles of the central highlands of Vietnam (he was mauled by wild animals who ate his genitals and right leg). He was rescued and life saving surgery performed by Dr Roberto Decastro, a world renowned surgeon providing humanitarian assistance to children around the world, led to the founding in 2011 of a program to help other Vietnamese children.
Dr. DeCastro first travelled to Vietnam in August 2011 and with support from doctors at Viet Duc Hospital and Hanoi Medical University Hospital, he examined more than 120 children.
HIWC supported AIPF’s tenth mission in November 2016. Foreign doctors performed 45 operations and examined 100 children in Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hanoi.
HIWC members also selected AIPF as a beneficiary of the Club’s annual auction lunch charity fund raiser in 2016.