VIETNAM: Q & A with a female UXO Clearance Technician
Mrs. Hoang Thi Hai Ly. [Photo by MAG America]
Ms Hoang Thi Hai Ly, 39, tells us about her experiences working as an unexploded ordnance (UXO) technician.
Employing women – and proving their ability to undertake demanding work in difficult conditions – raises their status amongst the communities they come from, and encourages other employers to do the same.
Of the current 110 national staff in the Vietnam programme, more than 25 per cent are female.
Do you have children?
I have three children, one girl and two boys.
When did you train to become a UXO clearance technician?
Why are you doing this job?
I want to do something really good for my homeland. I believe that clearance work brings peace and safety to our lives. I still remember how happy I was on the day I was recruited.
What is good about it?
I feel happy to contribute to society, to be a helpful citizen. I love my work and love seeing changes to society when I’ve been part of making them happen.
And the difficulties?
The weather. Hot and dry south-west winds during summer, while the temperatures can be very low in winter.
Can you describe your working day?
I am present at the office to pick up the equipment in early morning, then arrive at the clearance site around 7am. I have lunch around 10.40 and resume work at 12. I wrap up work at around 3.40pm and get back to the office. I am normally at home at around 5 after buying something for dinner.
How long will you work in this role?
I want to work as a deminer until there are no more bombs in my homeland.
What will you do afterwards?
At that time of my life it might be hard for me to find another job, so I will try to do something that can support my family and my children. Cattle or poultry breeding, maybe.
Do you have any other comments about being a woman working as a UXO clearance technician?
Of course our physical strength may be not good as the male staff, but I believe that we can work as well as the male counterparts.