The volunteers in District 12 of HCM City. Photo baosuckhoedoisong.vn
HCM CITY — Since the pandemic took a grip on the country, many stories have emerged of the amazing and selfless acts of everyday people.
People of all ages and from all walks of life have been offering to help out in their communities.
One group of students in HCM City’s District 12 have been actively volunteering since the fourth wave of COVID-19 began last year.
Some of the students even took part despite concerns from their own families.
Huỳnh Hải Yên, an 11th grader in Tân Hưng Thuận Ward of District 12, said her parents were worried she might become infected herself.
But this didn’t stop her and her school friends from supporting health workers in her community and buying food for people stuck indoors.
"I worried a lot about being infected with COVID-19 not just for me, but for my family,” Yên told baosuckhoedoisong.vn.
“At first, my parents were against my decision very strongly and wanted me to stay indoors.
“I had to persuade them that I would try my best to keep myself safe. And gradually my parents came around and allowed me to volunteer."
Her work helped her to become a better person, and more mature.
She added: "Because I was still young, I could not handle many situations flexibly. For example, many times people did not think I was a volunteer but a salaried member of staff so they yelled at me when I made mistakes and that made me very sad and sometimes I burst into tears.
“However, this only happened a few times and many people told me they loved me very much, that was the motivation for me to remain a volunteer until today.”
Yên said that the first time she volunteered was during her summer break and now she is studying online, continues to help out whenever she can.
But she has promised her parents it will not get in the way of her studies.
Huỳnh Hải Yên helps a man to complete a vaccination form. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn
Trịnh Thị Diệu Phương, a 10th grader, also faced opposition from her family when she volunteered to help out at mobile medical stations.
They were concerned her school exams preparations would be neglected. But she assured her family she would work twice as hard to complete her tasks.
"At first, my parents did not allow me to join the activity because I was studying for the 10th-grade exam,” Phương said.
“But I was still determined to join so I promised my parents I would study properly.”
Phương juggled her volunteer work with revision and in the end her efforts paid off, as she was able to help out in the community and still manage to get high scores on her exams.
"I was very happy when I helped people,” she said.
“The people were so nice. They gave us water and sweetmeat and even fanned us when it was hot.
“After a month, my parents stopped complaining because they were proud of me when they read about the efforts of volunteers in the newspapers and saw their work in the community on TV.
“Now my parents totally support me.”
When the school year started in September, Phương kept doing volunteer work after online classes.
“Knowing I was helping with volunteer activities, my teachers encouraged me so much,” Phương said.
“I became more mature. Before, I was short-tempered, but now I know how to listen and flexibly deal with issues.”
Meanwhile, Nguyễn Phượng Huỳnh, a 22-year-old student at the University of Natural Sciences, has been volunteering since the end of May while working on the graduation thesis.
"I did my thesis in parallel with volunteer work such as taking samples for testing, buying goods for people in quarantined areas and supporting health workers at vaccination spots but still ensured to complete the thesis,” said Huỳnh.
“I was older than many other volunteers so at first I thought it would be difficult to get along. But after just a few days, I felt very happy around the other volunteers.”
The university student thinks more people should help fight the pandemic.
She added: "The number of volunteers is low, if everyone was selfish thinking about themselves, who would do it, so I decided to participate.
“Sometimes I felt discouraged because of bad attitudes of some people. But then I treated them like my relatives. I thought many people did not understand much about the disease and processes of testing and vaccinations so I had to be patient.
“I thought that if I was dedicated, they would understand my work," she added.
Like Yên and Phương, joining the volunteer activity made Huỳnh more mature, patient and calmer.
“Before, if facing difficulties, I would give up easily, but now I find a way to solve them slowly and never give up,” Huỳnh said. — VNS