Inspirational artist auctions off paintings for Agent Orange victims

By Barack Huy, Nhung Nguyen   January 17, 2017 | 02:00 am GMT+7

Le Minh Chau, who struggles with a rare disability linked to Agent Orange effects, wants to be known more as an artist.

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Le Minh Chau, the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary “Chau, Beyond the Lines” auctioned two of his paintings last weekend to raise $1,000 for Orange Initiative, a project that aims to help disabled people and Agent Orange victims in Vietnam.

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Chau is teaching art classes for children and adults. “The documentary has shined a new light on my battle, but I want to be better known as an artist,” said the HCMC-based artist. His next goal is to learn English and to earn a scholarship to study abroad.

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Orange Initiative, led by the HCMC Peace and Development Foundation, is a Vietnam-Japan partnership project. One of its missions is to incorporate into the annual HCMC Run marathon a category for disabled people and Agent Orange victims.

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More than six million Vietnamese now live with disabilities. Of those a large number are Agent Orange survivors and their offspring. Agent Orange was used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program during the Vietnam War.

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Ton Nu Thi Ninh (R), a veteran diplomat and an advocate of the initiative, said the project is not only about supporting Agent Orange victims, but also about bringing the community closer to disabled people.

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Donations from the event will be sent to two beneficiary organizations -- the HCMC Association for People with Disabilities and Orphans and the HCMC Association for Victims of Agent Orange/Dioxin.

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Singer Ha Anh Tuan performed with blind students from Nguyen Dinh Chieu Special School.

Photos by Barack Huy

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