Monday, 27 May 2013

Children with disabilities overcome the legacy of Agent Orange

Three-year-old Dan was born with disabilities because of Agent Orange
© UNICEF Viet Nam/2013/Truong Viet Hung
Dang Hong Dan is just three years old but he’s a victim of the Vietnam War. He was born with disabilities because of Agent Orange – a chemical sprayed in the south of the country during the war to destroy crops and forests. Although the war ended almost four decades ago, Agent Orange still contaminates fields and rivers in the Mekong Delta region. It gets into food and drinking water, causing birth defects in children.

Dan was born with a cleft lip, which has been partly repaired with surgery, and a deformed hand and foot. He is too young to be aware of his disability and the stigma that sometimes surrounds it. He is a happy and active child, with an enormous sense of curiosity and clearly intelligent for his age. “Dan likes to play with anything,” his mother Oanh, 30, says with a laugh as he tries to figure out how to use UNICEF’s digital camera.