Undaunted female Vietnamese peacekeepers in Africa

(VOVWORLD) - In 2024, Vietnam celebrates a decade of participation in the UN Peacekeeping Force. Over these ten years, the officers and soldiers of the Vietnam People’s Army have consistently worked to bring hope and stability to war-torn nations, including the Central African Republic, the Republic of South Sudan, and Abyei. Among these peacekeepers, the female Vietnamese soldiers stand out, displaying resilience akin to a cactus thriving in the harsh African landscape.
Undaunted female Vietnamese peacekeepers in Africa - ảnh 1Lieutenant Colonel Vu Thi Lien teaches French to soldiers in the Central African Republic. (photo: NVCC)

Lieutenant Colonel Vu Thi Lien teaches French to soldiers in the Central African Republic, marking a significant milestone as the first Vietnamese officer to serve in the EU Training Mission in the Central African Republic (EUTM RCA) since December 2022.

Reflecting on her experience, Lieutenant Colonel Lien said: “This is the first time I worked in an international environment. I have faced a lot of difficulties. First is the climate. There are two seasons here and I have to adapt to it. Second I’m worried about epidemics. I work in a multinational environment among different cultures which requires me to constantly get acquainted. I speak English and French to communicate with the local people.”

Undaunted female Vietnamese peacekeepers in Africa - ảnh 2Captain Vu Nhat Huong teaches children in the Central African Republic. (photo: NVCC)

Captain Vu Nhat Huong served as the media officer for the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) during the 2021-2022 term.

She recounted her experience with Africa's harsh climate: “At the Mission’s Communications Department, we always have unexpected tasks, mainly to accompany special working groups of the Commander or Deputy Commander to subdivisions or places having problems. My task is to report and post the news in the Mission’s magazine. My job requires me to go out a lot. Many places have very high temperatures. If your health is not good, it will be difficult to undertake these tasks. There were some things that we had never experienced, such as flying in a helicopter having neither seatbelts nor doors, while filming the air patrol force. It’s one of my unforgettable memories.”

In January 2018, Vietnam deployed its first female officer for UN peacekeeping operations. To date, 114 Vietnamese female officers and soldiers have taken on individual and unit roles, including staff officers, military observers, communications officers, and female soldiers in Bentiu, South Sudan, the Abyei region, and the Central African Republic.
Undaunted female Vietnamese peacekeepers in Africa - ảnh 3Local people have special affection for Vietnamese female peacekeepers. (Photo: NVCC)

Captain Vu Nhat Huong expressed her pride: “I’m proud to wear the blue beret and uniform with ‘Vietnam’ on my chest. It’s a source of pride for me, my family, and my friends.”

Beyond their official duties, Vietnamese female soldiers engage in community support activities, helping locals grow crops, make clothes, teach children, and provide medical care.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien, former Civil Affairs Officer with Engineer Team No.1 at the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Abyei Region (UNISFA), said: “I went there to keep peace, to bring smiles to people. I found my purpose. I often helped locals grow vegetables, beans, and corn, and we harvested substantial amounts to improve their meals. Each season, we collected dozens of kilograms of seeds.”

“We organized volunteer activities at the Children’s Village in the capital, Bangui, home to 25-30 children under seven who were abandoned due to conflicts or social upheaval. Though the village has some sponsorship, it’s limited. We provided food, drinks, and toys brought from Vietnam or recycled from cardboard, cans, and water bottles,” said Captain Vu Nhat Huong.

These skilled, resilient, and compassionate Vietnamese female soldiers have embraced their international roles with dedication and a noble spirit. They have helped international friends see Vietnam as a peace-loving country by embodying the compassionate nature of the Vietnamese people.

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