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camp_fire_small.jpg (5726 bytes)Lua Viet began as a summer camp in the NorthEast organized by a group of young friends in 1983. Over 50 acquaintances from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts came together to set up camp, bringing with them a yearning for friendship and sharing. In the glow of the campfire on that summer night, the carefree laughter, the love songs and the timeless poems were woven into a bond of friendship between people who just met. With our hearts warmed by the fire and our hands linked together, we each felt proud to be a part of Vietnam and of each other. From this beginning, the name Lua Viet spontaneously became the designation of a group of young friends who share many common ideals. We have come together to share our dreams and our worries. We have come together to help each other in our lives as newcomers in a strange land.

Since 1983, this flame of friendship has been carried on by countless people, growing into a network of friends across the United States and countries such as France, Canada, and Australia. The simple purpose of Lua Viet is to create a medium through which friends can interact with each other in various activities. Lua Viet only wishes to bring together all who are interested in Vietnam so that we can work together to benefit the Vietnamese community oversea, Vietnam and its people.

Lua Viet does not believe that only great challenges are worth taking, nor does Lua Viet become dispirited when faced with a possible failure. So with this belief and with the endless energy of young friends, Lua Viet has continuously led activities ranging from summer camps, Vietnamese New Year Magazine, to the Che'n Ga.o Ti`nh Tha^n project, discussions and lectures at various universities, and protesting for human rights for Vietnamese boat people and refugees. Over 15 of Lua Viet friends have volunteered to work in the refugee camps in SouthEast Asia.

Since 1991, with many major political changes occurring around the world and in Vietnam, Lua Viet came to recognize some important emerging issues. After many discussions with colleagues who have had an opportunity to visit Vietnam, and have seen and experienced the situation inside the country, Lua Viet became aware of two problems, among many, facing the future of Vietnam: (1) the dire circumstances of orphans in many public orphanages, and (2) the severe shortage in the medical services. As a result, Lua Viet decided to channel its energy to help a number of orphanages and to find ways to contribute in the two crucial areas of public health and education. Lua Viet strongly believes that ours is a humanitarian effort that lies completely outside the controversy of politics and religion. Recent Lua Viet activities reflects this belief: aid for orphanages, the Classroom of Love, the House for Street Children, shipments of medicine and medical equipments.

The fire of that first summer camp in 1983 has continued to burn brightly and has rekindled in each of us a sense of hope for the future. Lua Viet hopes to have the strength and energy to carry out the responsibilities that will be passed on from our parents in building our community and preserving our cultural treasures. Lua Viet wishes that deep in the heart of each young friend, a flame will burn brilliantly to chase away the darkness of night, to clear all misunderstandings, and to remove all obstacles on the road to the future.

luaviet@luaviet.org 01/27/02 22:35