Why are development targets not being met when people are working hard? Today's youth need to have the answer, Nguyen Dac Vinh, Permanent Member of the Party Central Committee, first secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, tells Thu Trang.
Inner Sanctum: Being the First Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, can you share your feelings and memories about the first days of performing this duty? What advantages and difficulties did you encounter during those days?
I was elected to this position at the beginning of October 2011. At first, I wonder I was fully prepared to bear the great pressure and responsibility that this role entails as I had never tested my strength with such comprehensive work before. Earlier, I had worked as chairman of a student association and was responsible for only one field, but now I had been made responsible for everything and I found that I would have to face a lot of challenges.
Since my very first day, I thought the youth union's duty was to uphold the youth's force and capacity and contribute by taking initiative for the movement.
My first and biggest challenge was that my predecessor Vo Van Thuong had led the youth movement very well, due to which the union's activities had changed vigorously. I was worried about how I could ensure that the movement does not lag and only progresses further. The reality at the time reflected that there were a lot of challenges in our way and the biggest challenge was that the movement in the rural area, industrial zones and export processing zones was feeble.
Youth union workers' presentation and their activities were negligible. During the 2011-13 period, the Central Youth Union made a lot of effort to develop the movement in areas associated with the building-new-rural-area movements, but so far the results remained limited.
Inner Sanctum: Last year was chosen as the Year of the Youth Volunteer. What is its meaning and what did the youth union do during the year and what were the results of these activities?
The youth volunteer movement was launched all over the country in 2000, so in 2014 we were prepared to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the movement. 2014 was selected as the Year of the Youth Volunteer with the hope of creating an ebullient volunteer movement and to also learn from the experience of the past 15 years, which would help orient our future vision.
The Youth Union Central Committee also established five requirements for the movement during the year, including that it should be spacious, act as a guiding force, be practical and sustainable.
The union was based on these requirements and would organise activities accordingly. Formerly, the activities were organised during the summer vacation and then extended to include March, which was designated as the Month of Youth, and many activities were organised during the year.
Different activities were assigned to different months. For instance, during the beginning of the year, the union followed the "Xuan bien gioi-Tet hai Dao" (Spring comes to border areas and Tet festival to remote islands) programme in which we supported the poor and ethnic minorities and island guards for celebrating a better Lunar New Year holiday.
The union also organised a blood donation programme to ease blood shortage, which is often experienced during the beginning of the year. In March, we held a campaign to protect the environment and aid new rural areas.
During the summer vacation from June to August, we helped candidates take the university entrance exam, and assisted the traffic police in maintaining public order. We have also created a pilot model for emergency aid teams along Highway 1A, the highway that runs along the country. The teams, which are located 20 kilometres from each other, will act when they receive information about traffic accidents and give victims first aid and help in tackling the accidents' consequences.
Inner Sanctum: How has the movement affected the society in terms of politics, economics and culture during the past 15 years?
The biggest and most important value of the youth volunteer movement is educating the youth. Reality has shown that many young people, when joining the movement for the first time, are unaware of what they are supposed to do and how they should help others. But after taking part in our activities and witnessing the underprivileged people's harsh lives in person, they mature a lot. Many of them have grown up along with the movement and proved to be excellent youth union members.
After 15 years, we have learnt a lot from the experiences of the movement, which was started to tap people's volunteer spirit. The most important thing is that we know how to uphold the spirit of this movement. In fact, we can see that the movement was first organised for students only, but has now widened to other people, such as public employees, women, local residents, and even foreigners.
Being a youth union official, I identify myself with these activities. I am happy when the movement develops, and sad and worried when it flags.
Inner Sanctum: How did the movement join forces with the young volunteers in other countries?
Youth volunteers are present in every country around the world, but few countries have a large-scale and methodical movement, such as Viet Nam.
Foreign countries often have small volunteer groups. We have joined hands with them, for instance, we helped Laos and Cambodia with the public healthcare programmes and imparted guidance to them for developing their movement. Every year, we receive one volunteer team from Canada and we also send one team to Canada to exchange volunteering experience.
Inner Sanctum: What should the youth union do to cope with challenges of the new period?
During the new period, the youth need to answer some questions. The Vietnamese people are hardworking but then why don't they reach their family economic development targets? They are clever but why are science and technology still lagging behind? Many people wonder about these questions, and only the youth can help answer them.
The youth are hardworking, but they also need to boost their patience, intelligence and creativity. They should try to study not only at school, but also learn from friends, people living around them and foreign countries. They need to inculcate the best from mankind and catch up with the world's development.
I believe that given the Vietnamese people's skills and spirit, we can develop our country for the better. The youth should unite and be clear about building a peaceful and stable country. — VNS