Sunday, December 11 2016

VietNamNews

Box project brings pleasure to the poor

Update: May, 29/2016 - 09:00
Smiling-face boxes of Sunbox project is placed in eight public places in HCM City, calling for the contribution of the passers-by.
Viet Nam News

If you live in Ho Chi Minh City you may have seen wooden boxes on the streets with smiley faces on their fronts.

They are there for people to place things they no longer need.

Poor people are then able to buy these things at a low price.

The Sunbox project has brought great joy to people who are now able to get things they would not otherwise have afforded.

by Lương Hương – Toàn Nguyễn

What could you do with a mere VNĐ2,000 (US9 cents)? It’s not enough for a parking fee, a small cake or an ice cream. But low-income workers in HCM City can now buy clothes, books and other essentials for VNĐ2,000 at a store called 2k.

Open once a week at Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant in District 7, 2k is part of Sunbox Project, which officially kicked off last October. The project is placing boxes around cities near schools, libraries or cafés to collect donations of old clothes, books and toys from passers-by. 

“No objects are worthy of being thrown away," said Lương Ngọc Linh, a member of the project. "An old thing to you might be new to someone else. We have nurtured Sunbox Project for such a long time. We encourage people to collect their unused items and put them in our boxes nearest to their location.”

The boxes, easily identified by the smiley faces plastered on their fronts, are being placed in eight locations in the centre of the city, like Little Owl Shop in Phú Nhuận District, BFF Coffee in Bình Thạnh District, and Momo Bookstore in District 10.

Since its very first days, the project’s eight members have received support and many donations from people across the city, especially those who work in social fields.

“Some have helped us organise our programmes, some helped us decorate the store and others lent us storage bins to store goods,” Linh said.

The used items they collected were originally going to be donated to poor families and organisations in need.

Then the amount of old objects they collected grew so large that Sunbox came up with the idea of creating a store to sell used objects at low prices to poor people. And 2k was born. Every item there costs VNĐ2,000.

After thorough preparation and with support from Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant, Store 2k opened for the first time on March 28. Though there were still several problems, Sunbox members said they noticed customers were pleased.

“Seeing the radiant smiles of the poor labourers who could buy something despite they were second-hand clothes, we were very happy and proud of what we were doing, which motivated us to improve the store for the next week," Linh said.

Some have asked Sunbox why they don’t just offer used goods for free.

“Despite encountering financial difficulties, the poor still have their own self-esteem," he said. "If groups like us don’t consider their feelings, they could be hurt."

"Buyers can feel that they have been able to pay for some clothes, instead of receiving them out of the blue," Linh added.

Besides selling goods at low prices, store 2k is also unique in that it is open just one random day a week from 11am to 12:30pm, following the hours of Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant. Each customer can only afford maximum two items.

Linh says the store is open randomly in order to avoid crowds. In addition, different customers are free on different days, so some would not be able to make it if it was just one day a week.

“Charity does have unexpected side effects," Linh said, explaining why they chose to open just one day a week. "If the giveaway is improperly managed, the kindness might have negative effects on the receivers. The thought of being poor and knowing they’ll receive help wouldn’t motivate them to better their lives."

The strict rules at 2k were specified right from its first day, assuring that customers queue up for their turn.

“On a Friday afternoon a woman came to our store to insist on paying us VNĐ1,000 (4 cents), which she owed from the previous day," Linh said. "We will always remember what she said to us: ‘Despite being poor, I still have to pay back every penny I owe.’"

The money collected from 2k goes toward the operation of Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant, which also serves low-income customers.

VNĐ2,000 is a small bill, but 2k and Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant have turned it into a source of happiness for so many in the city. VNS

 

 

GLOSSARY

What could you do with a mere VNĐ2,000 (US9 cents)?

Mere is word used to stress that something is very small.

But low-income workers in HCM City can now buy clothes, books and other essentials for VNĐ2,000 at a store called 2k.

Low-income workers are workers who do not earn a lot of money.

The project is placing boxes around cities near schools, libraries or cafés to collect donations of old clothes, books and toys from passers-by. 

Donations are gifts.

“No objects are worthy of being thrown away," said Lương Ngọc Linh, a member of the project. "An old thing to you might be new to someone else.

Objects are things.

We have nurtured Sunbox Project for such a long time.

To nurture the project means to care and protect it while it is growing.

We encourage people to collect their unused items and put them in our boxes nearest to their location.”

To encourage people to collect things means to get the message through to them that it is a good idea to do that.

Since its very first days, the project’s eight members have received support and many donations from people across the city, especially those who work in social fields.

People who work in social fields work with people.

 “Seeing the radiant smiles of the poor labourers who could buy something despite they were second-hand clothes, we were very happy and proud of what we were doing, which motivated us to improve the store for the next week," Linh said.

Radiant smiles are bright smiles.

To be motivated means to be given a reason to do something.

“Despite encountering financial difficulties, the poor still have their own self-esteem," he said. "If groups like us don’t consider their feelings, they could be hurt."

To encounter financial difficulties means to find yourself with money problems.

Your self-esteem is how much you believe you can do something.

Besides selling goods at low prices, store 2k is also unique in that it is open just one random day a week from 11am to 12:30pm, following the hours of Nụ Cười 3 Restaurant.

If something is unique there is only one of it around.

Random means unplanned.

The strict rules at 2k were specified right from its first day, assuring that customers queue up for their turn.

Assuring means convincing

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search.

  1. The month last year that the Sunbox Project kicked off.
  2. The name of a bird that is part of the name of a shop.
  3. The type of business that describes Nụ Cười 3.
  4. A word that describes people who are not rich.
  5. Something people do when they are happy.

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. October; 2. Owl; 3. Restaurant; 4. Poor; 5. Smile.

 

 

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