Viet Nam News
HCM CITY — Nguyễn Thị Nữ, a former student at HCM City Foreign Trade University, and her friends have been collecting books for the last three years as part of the Tủ Sách Ước Mơ programme for children in rural areas.
The group first collected books for kids in the Mekong Delta province of Bến Tre, Nữ said during a discussion held last weekend at HCM City’s Tôn Đức Thắng University.
When they saw how eager the children were to read books, they began to collect even more reading materials, she said.
More than 5,500 children in the provinces of Bến Tre, Long An, Đồng Nai, Lâm Đồng, and Bình Thuận have benefited from the programme.
More young people in the country have become involved in such charity programmes, but their professionalism varies.
Nguyệt Đình Khôi, head of the Y Tâm Charity Organisation, said that when she began charity activities, she gave away her clothing to people, but did not think carefully about what they really needed.
Three years ago, her charity group gave rice to 40 households in a poor district in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng every month. But many of them did not eat it because it was too dry after cooking. They exchanged the rice for other stuff even if it cost more, and some of them even gave it to the dogs to eat.
Nguyệt said she learned from the experience and stopped giving rice to the households.
Later, the organisation’s members began to assess their demands more carefully.
They learned it was better to build a new bridge for children to go to school.
One member of the charity has helped a young woman with a disability who felt useless. She talked to the young woman and found out that she liked sewing.
Before she began studying tailoring from a neighbour, the group gave her a sewing machine, and within four months, she began to make potholders for a living.
Trần Công Bình, programme partnership specialist at UNICEF in Việt Nam, told Việt Nam News that there was a significant need to improve capacity for volunteer groups through training, field supervision, exchange of experiences and networking.
Phạm Trường Sơn, of the LIN Centre for Community Development, said an organisation should be set up for teaching young people how to carry out charity activities.
He said that training activities should be organised more frequently to improve the professionalism of these volunteer groups.
Việt Nam has 400 international NGOs and thousands of local NGOs, including charity organisations, but there is little connection among them to support professional knowledge.
The LIN centre could serve as a link by offering technical assistance and supervision, including from groups such as the HCMC Club/Foundation of professional social workers.
Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Bích, director of the Center for Social Work and Community Development Research and Consultancy, said that it was also important to provide a code of ethics.
The talk show at the university was organised by the LIN Centre for Community Development in co-operation with the Center for Social Work and Community Development Research and Consultancy, HCM City Professional Social Work Club and Social Development Training Centre. —VNS