Hands-On Saigon

Project No: P04

Project Manager:
Mercy Tran

Contact Info:

Donate To This Project Back to Vietnam

Factoid: The Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports 4,800,000 Vietnamese were exposed to Agent Orange, resulting in 400,000 people killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth defects. (i.e. mental disabilities, cleft palate, hernias, extra fingers and toes, etc.) These numbers do not reflect the direct impact on family members. 

Thirty years after the war, 3,000,000 Vietnamese are still suffering from the effects of the toxin, which can cause birth defects and cancer, and is now affecting a third generation of victims, in addition to its devastating impact on the environment. 

Hands-On Saigon


Project Manager: Mercy Tran

Vietnam, known for the strength and resilience of its people, is rebounding, following a long history of war and suffering. However, as much as half the current population of 90.5 million live on less than $2 a day, and many of them on less than $1. There is still a great need for assistance for the poor, disadvantaged and disabled.

Hands-On Saigon (HOS)has been active in helping the needy in Vietnam since 1996. Their programs, in numerous provinces of Vietnam, both north and south, have focused on the needs of some of the more overlooked and disregarded people; those in remote rural areas as well as some in the centers of the busiest cities.

Hands-On Saigon’s current projects include:

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam

A victim of Agent Orange thankful for his donated heifer

A new tank for harvesting rainwater provides clean water to this family

Students in computer literacy class

The Latest From Hands-On Saigon

For the latest news from Hands-On Saigon, check out these newsletters and videos.

Agent Orange Victims

40 years after the most devastating chemical warfare campaign known to man, 3 million Vietnamese are still suffering the brutal effects of Agent Orange. Since 2000 Hands-On Saigon has been supplying disabled victims and their families with livestock, as a sustainable means of providing for their families.

Rainwater Harvesting

In the poor rural district of Can Gio in the Saigon River delta, most families only have access to the polluted, brackish water of the Saigon River. Hands-On Saigon works with locals to complete the arduous process involved in building and installing cement tanks, enabling clean rainwater harvesting from rooftops.

Bridging the Digital Divide for Orphans, Disabled, and Rural Children

In today’s increasingly digitalized society, without access to basic computer skills young Vietnamese will be limited to futures involving only the most menial careers. Unfortunately, rural areas provide few if any options for computer training. One of HOS’s primary goals is to help build brighter futures for these children, and has successfully established four computer literacy centers to date, benefitting nearly 300 youth.

Free Medical Program

Hands-On Saigon has coordinated regular medical camps since 2008, bringing together doctors, pharmacists, donors and volunteers to provide free healthcare in remote locations populated by ethnic minorities where even the most basic medical attention is sorely lacking.

Shelter for Homeless Elderly Women

Life can be sad and lonely for these elderly women, with no family or place to call home, many having been rescued from a life of begging on the streets. Collaborating with a nun and her staff, Hands-On Saigon actively provides needed medical supplies and other equipment for the shelter, along with comfort, a listening ear and an extra hand to care for the infirm.

Support for ethnic minorities in remote villages

High in the mountains of Thanh Hoa Province where Westerners have rarely been seen, curious youngsters wait patiently with wide-eyed anticipation while bright new jackets, warm clothing, shoes, food and special treats are unloaded, soon to be distributed to the residents of their impoverished Hmong Village.

School Supplies for Disadvantaged Children

For many years, Hands-On Saigon has been providing school supplies for the incoming first graders in the poor rural district of Can Gio, in the Saigon River Delta. These students come from impoverished farming families who find it difficult to meet even the basic essentials, let alone “extras” like notebooks and stationery.