Nguyen Thi Li, aged 9, who lives in the Ngu Hanh Son district of Da Nang in Vietnam, suffers from disabilities believed to be caused by the defoliating chemical Agent Orange. During the Vietnam War, US forces sprayed Agent Orange over forests and farmland in an attempt to deprive Viet Cong guerrillas of cover and food. The dioxin compound used in the defoliant is a long-acting toxin that can be passed down genetically, so it is still having an impact forty years on. The Vietnam Red Cross estimates that some 150,000 Vietnamese children are disabled owing to their parents’ exposure to the dioxin. Symptoms range from diabetes and heart disease to physical and learning disabilities.
Ed Kashi speaks about the project:
“I was in Danang, Vietnam to work on a short film about child victims of Agent Orange and, while shooting video, was confronted with this incredible moment where the light, composition, character and mood combined to present something magical, transcendent and ultimately beautiful in its essence. Yet, it also showed the ongoing effects of a war that ended 35 years ago. Nguyen Thi Ly, a 9 year old girl afflicted with the genetic defects associated with Agent Orange exposure, represents yet another generation of children in Vietnam who need care and support.”