While searching for a topic about Vietnam, I ran across some articles about the Agent Orange problem in Vietnam and decided to write about it from a mathematical standpoint. For those who are not experts on the matter, here is brief description from Wikipedia:
“Agent Orange is the code name for a herbicide and defoliant—contaminated with TCDD—used by the U.S. military in its Herbicidal Warfare program during the Vietnam War. According to Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 4.8 million Vietnamese people were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 deaths and disabilities, and 500,000 children born with birth defects.”
The use of Agent Orange still has an effect on the citizens of Vietnam, poisoning their food and creating health concerns. This chemical has been reported to cause serious skin diseases as well as a vast variety of cancers in the lungs, larynx, and prostate. Children in areas exposed to Agent Orange have been affected and have multiple health problems–including cleft palate, mental disabilities, hernias, and extra fingers and toes.
I hope this article will allow us to become more informed about Agent Orange and efforts to combat it. There are more than 50 US-based groups that focus efforts to helping victims of Agent Orange. I am relieved to know that many people are aware of the problem and are dedicated to improve it. However, a closer look at most of these articles I realize the following:
– There is a vast amount of government aid, totaling up to $100 million (my rough estimate from multiple articles I have read), but the funds aren’t being used effectively
– There are many complaints from the service groups about the insufficiency of the funding, and they have to turn away more than 60% of potential aid recipients (again, my rough estimate after reading several articles)
My analysis of the situation:
Due to my background in economics, I will present my analysis from a more mathematical perspective than James and Brian have previously in their respective Ageant Orange articles.
With the assumptions that there are 5 million victims out there and $100 million in aid, my quick calculation leads me to the conclusion that there is only $20 per victim. This is assuming that relief workers do not get paid for their labor, and the money transfers directly to the victim. I should add the disclaimer that these numbers are based solely on my reasoning capabilities and not on exact numbers. Survey data are lacking for me to make a concrete analysis. Nevertheless, I believe these numbers are quite close to the actual data. If so, then I realized that government aid is simply not sufficient to help those in need.
Importance of OneVietnam Network:
Hence, after careful analysis and data interpretation, I came to the conclusion about the importance of a social non-profit network like OneVietnam Network. Vietnamese expats send home $7 billion every year, without the help of social networking. Imagine if OneVietnam Network is able to connect all generations of Vietnamese and friends of Vietnam, the awareness of problems like Agent Orange is large, and the cost of contributing is small!
Let’s say East Meets West foundation sets a goal of helping 10,000 victims. They need a budget of $10 million. Accessing their profile on OneVietnam Network (which assumed to have 10 million users at the time) and asking for donations, they can reach out to many people in a short amount of time. Everyone only has to donate $1/ user in order to help 10,000 victims. With a quick announcement on OneVietnam Network and maybe 2 weeks of fundraising, East Meets West will have the funds to help the victims.
I see a many efficiency problems that need to be resolved. I feel an unlimited amount of affection and care for people in need. I see a great potential in OneVietnam Network. I believe OneVietnam can revolutionize the scene of philanthropy and inspire our generation. The possibilities and vision of OneVietnam Network give me the inspiration to work late nights, during weekends, and on holidays with only happiness in me because I know that I can do my little part to make the world a better place.
Please become a fan of OneVietnam Network: http://www.facebook.com/OneVietnam, and invite all your friends. We want to reach the people who care!