Friday, January 18, 2013

A personal note from Chuck Searcy about Project RENEW - "Restoring the Environment and Neutralizing the Effects of the War" in Viet Nam:

As we close out 2012 and welcome in a new year, please accept this personal note from me although conveyed in a convenient but somewhat non-personal way.  As the Vietnamese say (such a useful expression):  "thông cảm" - or "sympathize", please!

Over the past decade, American veterans, colleagues, and many other friends have followed the progress of Project RENEW since the initiative was launched in August, 2001. 

Our mission was to develop a comprehensive and more effective way to reduce injuries and deaths from bombs and mines left over from the war, which have caused more than 100,000 casualties in Vietnam since the war ended in 1975. 

Quang Tri Province, the area along the former DMZ which was one of the most heavily bombed areas in history, needed help most urgently.

In the past 11 years, Project RENEW has successfully:

– removed or destroyed thousands of cluster munitions, landmines, and other ordnance that formerly were hidden threats to the lives and limbs of local people.

– helped reduce accidents by teaching people to be safe, and how to protect their neighbors by reporting the ordnance they do discover;

– helped thousands of victims to recover from accidents, to be able to walk again or adjust to other lifetime disabilities through rehabilitation and income generation.

These results are a credit to a young, trained, and dedicated staff of more than 90 Vietnamese professionals, all residents of Quang Tri Province.  They are supported by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who are key partners with RENEW, and through governments, foundations, and individual donors whose generosity has funded the budgets necessary to get the work done. 

A broad array of services is delivered at the village and community level through RENEW's links with existing institutions such as the Women's Union, the Youth Union, Farmers' Union, Health Services, and the Provincial Military.

Details are shared at Project RENEW’s website ( and through updates such as this year-end newsletter. 

I have to say that I’m very proud of the work done by the staff of Project RENEW.  They are committed to the mission, they are keenly aware of the life-saving importance of their work, and despite their youth – most of them are too young to remember the devastation of the war – they fully understand the losses and the sacrifices that their parents and the older generation suffered. 

They are committed to continue cleaning up the debris of the war, and to create a brighter, and safer future, for the children and future generations of Quang Tri Province.

Thanks to everyone who has supported this effort in past years.  Your generosity and goodwill have enabled the results that Project RENEW has managed to achieve.  And together with our Vietnamese colleagues and friends, we will continue. 

We are determined to achieve the ultimate goal that we all share – of making Vietnam safe from the threat of bombs and mines.

Happy New Year, best wishes to you and yours for peace, happiness, and fulfillment in 2013.

International Advisor, Project RENEW

Project RENEW International Advisor
Humpty Dumpty Institute
Veterans for Peace
25 Truong Han Sieu, #302, Hanoi, Vietnam
Mobile:    +84 (0) 903 420 769
Skype:      chucksearcy
Web:         thehdi.or

Quarterly Newsletter
2012 Year-End Edition 

Dear Friends,

As we say goodbye to 2012, we'd like to thank you for the continued support you've shown to Project RENEW. In an effort to update you on the accomplishments we've achieved during the year, we're pleased to share with you our the special year-end edition of our quarterly newsletter. 
Wishing you a safe and happy 2013.

Nguyen Hieu Trung
Coordination Manager
P.S. We'd love to hear from you this holiday season and throughout the new year. If you aren't already following us on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr, please stay in touch!
Timely response to ERW discoveries is the surest way to prevent deaths or injuries from explosive ordnance

It was about 10 a.m on 14 Dec 2012, Le Van Du, a fisherman in Ha Loc Village of Trieu Phuoc Commune, Trieu Phong District, was terrified when local workers unearthed a large calibre projectile while digging to build a septic tank. The dud round was just one meter from his kitchen. The workers were all were too scared to continue the job.

Fortunately Du’s neighbor, Vo Dung, knows about RENEW and used his mobile phone to call RENEW’s hotline to ask for immediate assistance. Just 30 minutes later, RENEW’s EOD Quick Response Team No. 2 arrived at the man’s house and investigated the situation. The item was identified as a five-inch naval projectile with a damaged fuse, so Team Leader Mai Van Viet decided to remove it to RENEW’s Central Demolition Site for later destruction.
Facts and figures of 2012 

The following figures provide a quick thumbnail sketch of what has been accomplished by Project RENEW during 2012.
3,432,200 is the number of square meters covered by technical surveys conducted by RENEW’s Cluster Munitions Survey team.
147,335 is the number of square meters of land cleared of ERW by RENEW’s Battle Area Clearance team and released to the local people for development purposes.

A glance at RENEW's donor contributions in 2012

2012 was another year of generous funding commitments from RENEW's donors to support our mine action mission in Quang Tri Province, totaling up to 1.5 million USD. The following chart provides a quick breakdown of the funding in our mine action programs.
Who are Project RENEW's staff?

In this issue of our newsletter, we would like to introduce our readers and supporters to our staff – so you can get to know the names and faces, the interests, the backgrounds and the contributions of the people who make up the RENEW team. 

When RENEW was launched in August 2001, it was agreed by the government of Quang Tri and international NGOs that the effort would be directed, managed and staffed only by Vietnamese - with external assistance and expertise from foreign experts as needed.  That principle is still in place today. It perhaps accounts for the success achieved by Project RENEW and the level of esteem the staff has earned in the eyes of Vietnamese and foreigners alike.
We thank our donors and partners

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Project RENEW
103 Nguyen Binh Khiem Street
Dong Ha City, Quang Tri Province

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