Boehm has returned to Quang Ngai this March. His schedule is full with trips to rural districts of Binh Son, Son Tinh, Tu Nghia, Mo Duc, Duc Pho, etc. to visit and assist poor women. For many poor women in Quang Ngai, the American veteran is called “Ong Mai phu nu” (Mr. Mai of women).
Thanks to Boehm’s assistance, hundreds of women have had capital to breed cows, to do small trade, to process fish sauce, etc. to escape poverty.
“I hope that my small act can help ease the pain of war in Vietnam,” Boehm said.
Boehm participated in the Vietnam War. He was in Cu Chi a week before the General Offensive and Uprising during 1968 lunar New Year – the time of the My Lai massacre in Son My, Quang Ngai province.
After tens of years living in obsession, in 1992, Boehm decided to return to My Lai to play violin to commemorate 504 civilians in the My Lai massacre and to help poor women and children in Quang Ngai.
In 1994, he founded a non-governmental organization named Madison Quakers, with initial capital of $3,000, to raise fund for Quang Ngai’s people. In the last 18 years, this organization has provided nearly VND2.5 billion (over $100,000) for hundreds of poor women in Quang Nam and presented over 100 houses for extremely-poor women.
With VND5 million ($250) of Boehm, Ms. Nguyen Thi Rac in My Lai hamlet bought a female cow. After two years, Rac has had three cows worth thousands of USD.
“Mr. Mai is very kind. He comes here every year to visit us. Thanks to his assistance, I currently have three cows,” Ms. Rac says.
Mr. Phan Van Do, representative of Madison Quackers in Vietnam, says: “Mr. Mike has sacrificed his own life to admit himself as a poor man in the US. In many years, he has quietly raised funds in the US and brings money to Quang Ngai each March to help poor women”.
Boehm has studied the Vietnamese language to talk with local people. He also joined Quang Ngai’s women to make banh trang (rice cake), banh beo (another kind of rice cake), etc. to understand women’s daily life.
Mike Boehm’s honorary membership card granted by the Quang
Ngai Women’s Association.
Ms. Tran Thi Danh in Tinh Khe commune says: “He spent one hour to observe how I made banh trang and then asked me to teach him. Thanks to his assistance, I have capital to produce banh trang and banh beo to support my family.”
Boehm has also called for American to assist Agent Orange victims in Vietnam, to grant scholarships to poor students and to present teaching equipment to schools in Quang Ngai.
Boehm says that whenever he is still alive and healthy, he will keep returning to Quang Ngai to help local women and children.
Ms. Pham Thi Thu Trang, Chair of the Quang Ngai Women’s Association, says that in the past 18 years, Boehm has implemented 17 projects to assist local women and presented many houses to poor women. The Association has granted its only one honorary membership card to this American man, coded 01 out of over 200,000 members. Phuong Lan