|Setting an example: Tran Ngan Hoa, chairwoman of Hang Buom Ward's Women's Association, works tirelessly to help women in her ward to improve and preserve the virtues of Hanoian women.
Women's Association leader encourages women to be kind and confident in everything they do. Ha Nguyen reports.
[Tran Ngan Hoa has worked tirelessly to help women in her Hang Buom Ward in Ha Noi's Old Quarter to improve their behaviour and follow core virtuous characteristics of Hanoian women in modern times.
They are encouraged to be self-confident, respectful and elegant, always keeping in mind their responsibility towards their family and society.
Hoa, 65, who has been acting as chairwoman of the ward's Women's Association for almost 15 years, said she was happy carrying out the mission, although it was sometimes difficult to deal with nearly 1,000 women in the area.
Almost all of the women are traders who take advantage of the ward's location as one of Ha Noi's most attractive tourist sites. High competition, coupled with a lack of space to sell their wares, sometimes leads to problems, even resulting in quarrels between neighbours.
When each quarrel occurred, Hoa immediately arrived to talk with each woman in order to understand their circumstances and remind them to follow the core virtuous characteristics of female Hanoians.
Nguyen Thuy Huong, 42, recalled a time when she and her neighbour, Hoang Thi Huan, had a big fight while competing to lead a tour around the Old Quarter for a group of foreigners.
Although Huong ended up guiding the tour, she was sad to have tarnished a previously good relationship with her neighbour.
Hoa came to talk with these women several times.
"She is very active in reminding us to live in harmony and make concessions with each other," Huong said.
"We respect Hoa very much for her good behaviour and enthusiasm in helping those with difficult and disadvantaged circumstances," she said.
Hoa leads by example by offering polite words to neighbours and helping their children with math and literature exercises.
Hoa reads often to improve her knowledge and encourages women in the ward to read newspapers and books to preserve Ha Noi's traditional virtue of elegance that has been embedded in the culture for thousands of years.
"We have to maintain and develop this traditional value because it has been lost much over the years," Hoa said.
She often organises meetings to popularise knowledge on population and family planning, as well as tips to improve their homemaking skills, such as feeding children and teaching minors.
As part of the movement to help Hanoian women who work in household trades to be self-confident and respectful while retaining their elegance and beauty, Hoa wrote a draft proposal highlighting that women's grace should come first.
Many Hanoians nowadays, particularly youngsters, have lost this value, Hoa said, adding that they treat each other unfairly.
|Main attraction: Hang Buom, one of the busiest streets in Ha Noi's Old Quater. Hundreds of local and foreigners visit the Bach Ma Pagoda located on the street, every day. — VNS Photo Doan Tung
This has lowered the reputation of Hanoians in the eyes of locals and foreigners, she said, stressing, "We have to regain this image."
In October 2013, Hoan Kiem District opened walking streets in the Old Quarter, including Hang Buom, Ma May, Dao Duy Tu, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen and Ta Hien.
Hoa took the helm to mobilise the heads of local women's association branches to ensure no motorbikes parked and no vendors sold goods on the pavement.
Hoa has also emphasised the importance of food safety in the city.
"We have to ask food sellers to wear gloves to ensure food hygiene and to avoid food poisoning for guests," Hoa said.
Hoa's dedicated efforts have paid off. Her Hang Buom Women's Association branch won the "Excellent" title for 15 consecutive years, while Hoa herself was named among 10 of the most outstanding persons of Hoan Kiem District.
Truong Thi Thu Thuy, deputy head of the Viet Nam Women's Association's Promotion and Education Committee, praised Hoa's efforts in preserving the dignity of Old Quarter women.
"She is a very good example for us and youngsters to follow," Thuy said.
Back home, she has also found support from her husband. "Although she is very busy with her work, my wife takes care of her family very well, from cooking healthy meals every day to teaching our children to improve themselves to be good Hanoian citizens. I'm proud of her and support her," Hoa's husband said. — VNS