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  • Writer's pictureREI

REI partners with Dow Company Foundation in the fight against COVID-19

Updated: Jul 8, 2020

COVID-19 has impacted the work of REI, as it has the lives of virtually everyone globally. Our spring short-term professional team’s plans to Vietnam were postponed, and fall teams are uncertain at this time. No one knows when borders will re-open and regular travel resume. Happily, our resident staff in Hanoi have been safe and continue to serve, as locally life is somewhat back to normal.

Despite many postponements, we had an unexpected opportunity to partner with the Dow Company Foundation to help Vietnam during this crisis.

Dow Vietnam expressed a desire to donate a significant quantity of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) and other safety items for medical workers at two national tropical disease hospitals, the front-line hospitals in Vietnam’s fight against COVID-19, and a provincial hospital in Dong Nai. When Dow Vietnam asked how they could do this, the People’s Aid Coordinating Committee (PACCOM), which oversees all international NGOs, recommended they work through REI.

Dong Nai General Hospital and Dow Vietnam representatives with REI’s Ms. Lien (center) celebrating the donation of medical safety protective items in Dong Nai province, near Ho Chi Minh City.

And this is how it came together. On June 1, a grant of $10,000 from the Dow Company Foundation to REI enabled us to partner with Dow Vietnam to donate 1,000 medical masks and 60 four-liter bottles of hand sanitizer to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases and a similar donation to a sister tropical disease hospital outside of Hanoi. And on June 5, to donate 300 sets of medical protective gear (each consisting of a medical cap, surgical coverall, gloves, surgical mask, safety glasses, and medical shoe covers) and 550 masks to Dong Nai General Hospital, located near Ho Chi Minh City.

Our own Ms. Lien put it this way, “The REI organization is pleased to partner with Dow Vietnam to implement this meaningful charity program. We would also like to express our sincere thanks to the leaders of PACCOM, the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases, and Dong Nai General Hospital for their support and providing favorable conditions for the smooth implementation of this program. Through this opportunity, we expect that REI will become a reliable partner in long-term medical charity programs in Vietnam.”

As you know, REI focuses on “Building People to Build Nations,” emphasizing developing and transforming people. We were thrilled to have a part in this generous donation from the Dow Company Foundation, and count it an honor to be the foreign NGO that PACCOM recommended to facilitate this donation.

REI Vietnam team and representatives from the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases celebrating the donation of medical safety protective items to help Vietnam amidst the CoViD-19 pandemic.

What’s next for REI in Vietnam?

Our resident staff continue their work in-country. Our exchange visitor program, bringing Vietnamese specialists to the USA for an extended period of professional development and training, will resume when possible. As to our short-term volunteer teams, some programs will likely be accomplished through on-line training this year, while others may be suspended until restrictions lift. And we hope for more unexpected opportunities to serve, as per the Dow grant.

We are rethinking our methods to some degree given the current global pandemic, but our vision remains clear – “Building People to Build Nations”!

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