HCM CITY — HCM City's Youth Volunteer Force, which celebrates its 36th anniversary this week, has made great contributions to social and economic development of the city and nation.
|A Youth Volunteer Force patrols the Can Gio Forest. — VNS Photo Van Dat
Its members, in their ubiquitous olive uniforms, support the police in regulating traffic at the city, operate more than 70 parking lots, and assist foreign tourists in the downtown area every day.
They also help supply fresh water to residents in remote Can Gio District.
The Binh Khanh Ferry that the Youth Volunteer Force operates between Nha Be and Can Gio districts charges nominal rates unlike private operators elsewhere.
The organisation has also been doing well in other businesses it has started in the real estate, wood products, and security services sectors among others.
Since 1976 it has invested VND1.58 trillion (US$75 million) in urban development projects and VND1.4 trillion in the services sector.
The organisation plans to earn more than VND624 billion ($29.7 million) this year.
In 1976, a year after the American war ended, Vo Van Kiet, then HCM City Party Secretary and later to become prime minister, encouraged youths to take part in the Committee post-war national reconstruction.
Millions of youths were moved when he proclaimed: "We have overcome the disgrace of losing the country, we have to deal with the shame of poverty." More than 10,000 youths gathered at the Thong Nhat Stadium on March 28 that year for the formation of the Youth Volunteer Force.
More and more young people volunteered to go to the most disadvantaged places in the country to reverse the consequences of the war by reclaiming fallow land. With two-thirds of arable land in the south lying fallow, poverty and hunger were inevitable.
The Youth Volunteer Force built irrigation systems, State farms, gradually helped revive farming in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, south-eastern region, and the Central Highlands.
Within a year of the start of the campaign, the youths had ushered in incredible change in HCM City – lands that had been bare had become lush green and provided enough food for the populace.
Several groups and individuals belonging to the Youth Volunteer Force will be honoured during its 36th anniversary celebrations.
Five groups and 14 individuals will receive merit certificates from the Prime Minister; five others will be conferred the Labour Order, 3rd class. — VNS