LIEN THUY, Vietnam -- Representatives from the U.S. Army Pacific, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam were met with throngs of dancing children during a ribbon cutting ceremony at a new U.S. funded kindergarten in Lien Thuy, Vietnam, 7 Dec. 2017.
Lien Thuy is a commune located in the North Central Coast region of Vietnam and one of the poorest provinces in the country. The new regional, ten-room kindergarten can support the education of 320 children and doubles as a storm shelter as the region is prone to torrential rains and flooding.
Brig. Gen. Douglas Anderson, Deputy Commander, Army Reserve, U.S. Army Pacific and commander of the 9th Mission Support Command, spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony.
"Since 2009, the U.S government, through the Overseas Humanitarian, Disaster and Civic Aid (OHDACA) program, has partnered with the Vietnamese government and communities to construct schools, clinics, centers and bridges in many towns in Vietnam. And the Lien Thuy kindergarten is the 20th school we've built in Vietnam under our partnership program," he said.
According to the Defense Security Cooperation Agency's website, OHDACA-funded activities are intended to directly address humanitarian needs, augment Combatant Commander (CCDR) capabilities to respond to humanitarian crises, help generate long-term positive perceptions and goodwill for Department of Defense, and promote cooperation with foreign military and civilian counterparts. Concurrently, OHDACA-funded activities provide direct benefits to the HN by improving the basic living conditions of the civilian populace in a country susceptible to extremism, enhancing the legitimacy of the HN government by improving or building its capacity to provide essential services (such as health care or education) to its populace, and promoting stability in the HN or region."
This was the second OHDACA-funded kindergarten opened in the last three days. The other was opened in the Quang Vinh Commune, Hue Province in Vietnam, Dec. 5. Each project cost approximately 500 thousand dollars and were built in under a year. The projects were requested by Vietnam, developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, sponsored and funded by PACOM and coordinated with the U.S. embassy in Vietnam.
"This close cooperation between Vietnam and the U.S. reflects the spirit of our partnership between the two countries," said Anderson.