|Members of Hưng Lộc Commune Women's Union sorting the plastic waste they gathered. — Photo dantri.com.vn
THANH HÓA — Combining environmental protection with philanthropy, women in Thanh Hóa have been turning littered waste into money to buy tens of thousands of gifts for poor people.
Many tourist attractions in the province now have bins with slogans such as: 'The model of turning waste into money'; 'Give me trash instead of giving it to the environment' and 'Support for disadvantaged children'. The campaign was launched initially by the provincial Women's Union.
Since October 2021, they have collected nearly VNĐ16 million (US$750) from the sale of waste, money that has been redirected to poor women and orphans.
A local resident said that before the initiative, people would litter indiscriminately around tourist sites. However, since the bins were erected, garbage has mostly been disposed of in the right place.
Lưu Minh Hiếu, chairwoman of the Hưng Lộc Commune Women's Union, said that members have skillfully and creatively recycled garbage into home decor accessories.
For example, old tyres have been painted to become useful trash cans placed in tourist attractions.
A total of more than VNĐ78 million was spent on 262 gifts for the union’s members and children in difficult circumstances.
Thọ Xuân District Women's Union has mobilised to collect and sort household waste at home, selling what they collect to raise funds for the poor and also to protect the environment.
The union also called on individuals and companies to grant scholarships and gifts to poor women and orphans, with a total of 1,000 gifts worth VNĐ350 million.
Lê Thị Thanh Tâm, chairwoman of Thọ Xuân District Women's Union, said the model of "Turn plastic waste into money" kicked off in December 2021.
Many women's unions have done well, particularly those in Quảng Phú, Xuân Phú, Tây Hồ, Xuân Thiên, Xuân Lai, Nam Giang, and Xuân Hồng communes.
The districts' women's unions placed the trash cans in tourist hotspots and historical sites so visitors can easily dispose of their rubbish in the right place.
Ngô Thị Hồng Hảo, chairwoman of Thanh Hóa Province's Women's Union, said the campaign was just one of six social activities the women's union was doing effectively and widely.
Hảo said: "At first, we only set a target of 10,000 gifts worth VNĐ3 billion in the whole province."
"However, thanks to our creative approach, the union has been able to grant more than 22,000 gifts worth VNĐ6 billion to women and children in difficult circumstances." — VNS