CISR Director visits prosthetics distribution in Tam Ky, Vietnam
On 9 March CISR’s Director Ken Rutherford visited a mass fitting for amputees in Tam Ky, Vietnam, accompanied by CISR’s Trauma Rehabilitation Specialist, Cameron Macauley. The event was sponsored by Viet Nam Assistance for the Handicapped (VNAH), a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization founded by Vietnamese-American philanthropist Ca Van Tran. VNAH regularly visits communities in rural Vietnam to offer free prosthetic devices and wheelchairs to people with disabilities.
After being fitted for a new prosthesis by having a plaster cast made of their residual limbs, many of these amputees will be transported to the workshop in Da Nang where the new prostheses will be carefully customized to their needs. They may also spend some time undergoing physical rehabilitation and learning to walk with the new device. Amputees who require upper-limb prostheses will learn to use their new hands to dress and feed themselves and to ride a bicycle or a motorbike.
All of these services are provided free of charge by VNAH. Its President, Ca Van Tran, served in the U.S. Marines during the Vietnam War and went to the United States in 1975. He found work washing dishes at a Mexican restaurant and was soon owner of the Taco Amigo chain in Northern Virginia. He has used much of his personal money to support programs for people with disabilities in Vietnam and is now interested in opening new projects in Myanmar.
“A new arm, leg or wheelchair makes all the difference in the world for these people,” said Ca. “It makes work, play and everyday activities possible and allows them to live with dignity and self-respect. Nothing gives me greater joy than to see an amputee walk with grace, pride and comfort. Even though the situation is improving for people with disabilities in Vietnam, much more needs to be done.”