US NGO aids residents near Mekong Delta landfill

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Volunteers from the US, Canada and Vietnam have joined hands in a week-long aid trip to provide medical check-ups and other assistance to thousands of people living near a garbage dump in Kien Giang Province

This photo taken in December last year shows then two-year-old Nguyen Thi Anh Thu walking with her mother to work at a garbage dump in Kien Giang Province.

Some 2,000 children and adults in the Mekong Delta province have benefited from free medical examinations and medicine provided by "Aid Expedition 2010," organized by the Catalyst Foundation.

The program's 100 volunteers, including doctors and nurses, provided rice for 200 poor families, built new houses and a new playground for children at Vinh Quang Primary School. The group, which wraps up its trip on April 2, completed all its work for just US$28,000.

Catalyst Foundation, which has operated in Vietnam since 1999, was founded by Vietnamese-American Caroline Nguyen Ticarro-Parker. Nguyen and her husband adopted Vietnamese twin girls who were abandoned at a hospital when they first visited the nation in 1998.

Over the last 11 years, the foundation has worked to support residents in the Mekong Delta, especially abandoned and homeless children. The group has built schools for needy communities, provided vocational training, and educated local residents about the dangers of child trafficking.

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