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Page 30
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Bikes for Education in Vietnam

By Nadya Williams with David Clark

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In the frontier area of Vietnam, children that live over 6km (3.7miles) from school and do not have a bicycle are unable to attend school. The idea to give these kids bikes started informally around 2009, when a group of American Vietnam veterans, friends, and family, responding to a word-of-mouth campaign raised enough to purchase and distribute about 200 bicycles.

Since 2015, the Veterans For Peace, Hoa Binh (Peace) Chapter 160 in Vietnam has so far provided these children with over 1,300 bikes. The bikes are not only a life-enhancing but a life-changing opportunity. The recipients are not only disadvantaged by living in remote rural areas, but are often children from "minority" populations historically left out of Vietnam's development. Thank you letters to the Da Nang-based VFP chapter say that unlike their parents or grandparents these children can now learn to read and write. Please see: www.vfp160.org/bikes/

David Clark, a former Marine 1966-'70, who lives full-time in Da Nang since 2007 with his wife, "Ushi" Nguyen Thi Thanh Huong, heads up the project. David is the secretary-treasurer of the Hoa Binh VFP chapter. Despite the challenges of the pandemic and limits on international travel, a delegation of chapter 160's Bikes for Education team traveled throughout Central Vietnam during April 2021 and distributed a total of 175 bicycles to ten schools. That delivery represented an especially important event for the students of a region battered by devastating typhoons in an abnormally stormy 2020 season. Difficult-to-access communities in rural and frontier regions, that were already contending with poverty, suffered significant flooding. The typhoons impacted the daily lives of many families, who saw their homes and neighborhoods destroyed overnight.David and Ushi also raise funds for DAVA (the Da Nang Association of Victims of Agent Orange). Of his time in Vietnam, David says, "I came here as a young man to die for my country. Thank God I didn't die. I made it, physically I made it. But, I may get to die here by my own choice." Of the bike program and all his humanitarian work in Vietnam, he says, "In a way, this is a chance to make personal amends. Before, I was a very, very small part of a big problem, now I'm a very, very small part of a big solution."

Each bicycle costs $100. Funds are also reserved for simple safety gear like reflective tape for nighttime cycling, and later repairs and replacement of tires, parts, etc. Funds are sent to Vietnam by the San Francisco Chapter 69 of Veterans For Peace. Donations are tax-deductible, and no fees whatsoever are taken out.

Please include your contact information (address, phone, email), so you can receive confirmation, tax information and, a thank you!

Make checks payable to:
VFP 69
Memo: VFP 160 Bikes
Mail to:
Veterans For Peace
5519 Plumas Ave
Richmond, CA 94804
Contact info:
David Clark

Nadya Williams is an Associate Member of VFP, San Francisco Ch. 69 and Director of Communication. David Clark is a Vietnam war veteran and Secretary/Treasurer of the VFP, Vietnam Ch. 160.

School children of Hai Hoa Primary and Secondary School.

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