Quang Tri (August 19, 2022) — On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, we pay tribute to one of our staffers who is devoted to making her local community safe from cluster munitions and other explosive ordnance.
Phan Thi Thu Huong is the deputy leader of RENEW/NPA’s all-women battle area clearance team. She grew up in Hai Thai Commune, Gio Linh District, Quang Tri Province, one of the areas heavily impacted by the war’s consequences.
“Growing up in a place that was once the scene of heavy bombardment and ground fighting, I have witnessed many lives and limbs lost in explosive ordnance accidents. This includes my own father,” said Huong.
At age 32, Huong’s father lost one eye and suffered multiple injuries after a wartime munition exploded as he was farming land near a former combat base in Con Tien. “The human suffering caused by the explosive legacy of war urged me to do something to bring peace of mind to my fellow villagers,” Huong explained.
Members of the all-women battle clearance team pose for a group photo.
Huong joined NPA/RENEW in October 2018 and became one of the members of the all-women battle area clearance team – the first of its kind in Vietnam. For Huong, the job has been a dream come true. “Some say that demining is a man’s job, but I feel proud to be part of the women team, and we work on equal terms with men.”
Huong and other women deminers take a lunch break while working on a clearance site.
In January 2022, Huong advanced to Deputy Team Leader. “I am so proud of joining the NPA/RENEW teams. It makes me happy to turn contaminated land into fertile farms for local villagers and bring smiles to young kids,” said deputy team leader Huong, with a smile.
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