Inspirational artist auctions off paintings for Agent Orange victims

By Barack Huy, Nhung Nguyen   January 16, 2017 | 11:00 am PT
Le Minh Chau, who struggles with a rare disability linked to Agent Orange effects, wants to be known more as an artist.

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Photos by Barack Huy

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