President Tran Duc Luong has directed the Red Cross to provide more humanitarian assistance to remote and isolated areas during its action month for people with disabilities and war victims who are living in poverty.
Luong made the comments at a meeting in Ha Noi to celebrate International Red Cross and Red Crescent Day, which fell on Saturday.
The Vietnamese Red Cross Society chose the day to launch its month for people with disabilities and war victims who are living in poverty and appealed to domestic and international organisations to support them.
President Luong said he was truly moved to attend the event and praised the idea behind the campaign.
"Impoverished people with disabilities and war victims are in a unique plight compared to other people with disabilities," Luong said.
"They have endured much difficulty throughout their lives because of their physical pain and economic position.
"But they are not pessimistic. On the contrary, they are determined to rise up and contribute to society and the nation."
The president said the action month should be practical, effective and "a beginning of dramatic change".
"The month will be successful if it makes the general public more aware of unfortunate people and helps them regain self-confidence and integrate with the community," he said.
Luong called on public and private organisations and individuals to respond to the action month in their own ways.
He commended the staff of the Red Cross for their devotion to humanitarianism.
The chairman of the Red Cross Society, Nguyen Van Thuong, said the month will help impoverished people with disabilities and war victims improve their lives by providing them with housing, education, credit, scholarships and vocational training.
The society, which has already raised about VND500 million for the action month, will also provide selected hospital patients with health care, free medicine and food.
During the month, the society aims to distribute 2,000 wheelchairs, 1,000 houses and 1,000 scholarships worth VND500,000 each to impoverished people with disabilities, war victims and their families.
The Red Cross gave wheelchairs to five people with disabilities and scholarships to 12 disadvantaged but talented students.
One person with disabilities, Hua Van Nam, said the respect and support of the Government, State and the general public has helped him and others like him to "live lives with physical deformities but with no dents in their spirit or will".
Speaking on behalf of Red Cross societies in other countries, the American Red Cross’ Marcie Friedman said the international branches would support their Vietnamese counterparts during the action month.
The event was attended by the president of the Fatherland Front’s Central Committee, Pham The Duyet, representatives of the Dutch, American and Australian Red Cross, and 100 impoverished people with disabilities and war victims from Ha Noi.
VNS - (11/05/2004)