Do Van Du Goes Back

Thursday, July 02, 2009

There's a good story down at the Mercury News about Do Van Du, a Vietnamese American who lost a leg and part of an arm when he was serving in the U.S. Special Forces (afterwards going on to become a successful software engineer), who's gone back to Vietnam to help disabled youth in the country by starting up a program teaching them software development:

For a small number of disabled young people enrolled in the tech training programs Du founded in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, that is changing. "IT allows them to connect to the outside world in a way they haven't before," said Andrew Wells-Dang, deputy country director for Catholic Relief Services. "It also demonstrates that people with disabilities can do all kinds of jobs, including high-tech ones."

In all, 175 students have received tech training over the past two years, including 75 as software engineers who earn international software engineering certificates. The others get six months' training in business process outsourcing — which includes image processing, data entry and general office IT work that companies outsource to countries like Vietnam.

Du's Information Technology Training Center, which receives funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development, just expanded to Ho Chi Minh City, where more than 50 students are now attending daily classes at Van Lang University. They have been provided with brand-new PCs. Subsidized housing is available to those who need it. The program, which has a budget of about $200,000 a year, is free to the students.
Pretty damn cool huh?