Viet Nam News
AN GIANG — A Không (Zero) Đồng shop that offers donated clothing and household appliances, most of it new and some of it secondhand, is seeing a brisk business in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of An Giang.
The shop was begun by the province’s Tri Tôn District’s Sponsoring Association for people with disabilities, orphans and poor patients, whose aim is to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner.
Open daily, the shop is located in Núi Tô Commune at the Nguyễn Trãi -Nam Kỳ Khởi Nghĩa junction.
The association is active in the national programme to build “new rural areas” and “civilised urban areas”.
Phạm Tấn Đức, deputy chairman of the association, said the idea for the shop came from Men Pholly, the secretary of the district’s Party Committee.
All donations are from individuals and charitable organisations both inside and outside the district.
The shop has collected about seven tonnes of clothes and more than VNĐ40 million (US$1,760) in cash donations since its opening on February 15.
Each customer is allowed no more than four items of clothing per visit, but can return a few weeks later to select more.
For other items such as televisions, bicycles, washing machines, electric fans and gas stoves, people in need must register with the shop’s managers, who give priority to the poorest.
Volunteers deliver the items to people’s homes and help set up TVs or other devices.
Give and receive
The shop’s management board and its many volunteers operate the shop. After receiving the donations, volunteers clean and arrange the goods in separate areas at the shop.
About 20-30 people visit the shop daily to choose items of clothing.
Lê Văn Luông, 63, a local resident, said: “The shop has many essential items and most of them seem new. Some of the clothes are old, but they bring more spiritual value than material value.”
To maintain long-term operations, Đức said he researched various donation models that offer free clothing and other goods.
“We plan to use trucks to transport goods, sort of like a mini shop, that will go through the district two to three times a week to deliver donated items to people in need,” he said.
He said he hoped the shop would receive support from donors nationwide.
An Giang Province has many ethnic groups, including Hoa, Khmer and Chăm, who follow different religions such as Buddhism, Hòa Hảo, Cao Đài, Catholicism and Protestantism.
According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the province in 2015 had 45,789 poor households, or 8.45 per cent of the population.
Tri Tôn District had 7,315 poor households, the highest number of any district.
The province, which targets reducing the household poverty rate by 1-1.5 per cent this year, and hopes to also limit relapses into poverty. — VNS