by Thu Hang
Amateur singers build houses
Since 1994, a club of singers of tai tu (southern amateur music) has funded the building of 11 houses for poor families in Vinh Long Province.
This year, they are helping to build a new house for Ho Van Thanh and his wife, who live in an unsafe small shed topped with a canvas sheet in the province's Binh Minh Town.
Chau Van Truong, head of the 20-member club, says their aim is to provide safe shelter for people to live.
Established in 1994, the club has established a good reputation and performs regularly throughout the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta.
During the first National Don Ca Tai Tu Festival in Bac Lieu held last month, the club and another one in the province were honoured for their work in preserving southern fork music.
Bean sprouts pay medical bills
With the help of a local monk, patients with kidney failure who live temporarily in Ngoc Hoi Commune in Ha Noi City's Thanh Tri District are growing bean sprouts to pay off their medical expenses.
The patients who rent low-roofed houses in the area are waiting for treatment of kidney failure through dialysis at the Nong Nghiep Hospital.
With a 25-square metre garden, 11 households grow about 120 kilos of bean sprouts each month. Each person receives a profit of VND300,000-400,000 (US$15-$19) per month.
The cultivation of the vegetable began in 2010 when Thich Dam Chung, a monk at Pho Linh Pagoda in Tay Ho District, showed Pham Van Hong, a 48-year-old patient, how to grow bean sprouts. After much success, Hong taught other patients who use them for food as well as sale to others.
War veterans welcomed
The battle of Dien Bien Phu is a famous one in Viet Nam's history, and war veterans who recently visited the Dien Bien Phu city on the occasion of the 1954 victory over the French were received with open arms.
Vu Thi Hien, owner of a tailor shop in the city, says she began renting rooms in her five-storey house to war veterans in late April.
"I was very happy to help veterans who have made sacrifices for the country. I wanted to set a good example for my children to follow," Hien says.
Ha Minh Thong, who owns a food store in the ward, volunteered to provide two air-conditioned rooms to veterans so they could have a comfortable place to sleep.
A group of six young volunteers also helped veterans find rooms and provided information on historical sites as well as free food and water.
War veteran Tran Ngoc Tuong, who with other 21 veterans from Hoa Binh Province visited the area on the 60th anniversary of the victory at Dien Bien Phu, says the group had helped them find lodgings shortly after they arrived.
"We got there when dusk was falling and were worried about finding a place to sleep, but several young volunteers showed us the way to a house where comfortable rooms were available," he said. — VNS