|Nghĩa Tân Ward's 20-volunteer member team supports families in lockdown areas. VNA/VNS Photo|
ĐẮK NÔNG — People in the Tây Nguyên (the Central Highlands) province of Đắk Nông are familiar with the image of young people in blue shirts standing side by side with medical teams ready to participate in activities to assist in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. These are Đắk Nông’s young volunteers.
When Đắk Nông entered social distancing restrictions, the Youth Union of Nghĩa Tân Ward swung into action establishing a team of "Volunteer Blue Shirt Shippers". Their role was to help with shopping for food and delivering it to people living in isolated areas.
Lâm Thị Thùy, 32, immediately signed up to become a volunteer shipper.
She says that the team's work starts early in the morning. With portable speakers, families in locked-down areas are advised to compile lists of goods they need. Then at 5pm team members gather the information, go and buy the supplies, and deliver them.
"There are freelance workers living in cheap rental houses. Because of the pandemic they are out of work with no income and they don't have money to buy food," Thùy said.
"Sometimes we have to spend our own money to buy them supplies or mobilise other resources from local people to support them."
Trương Công Định, living in a lockdown area in Nghĩa Tân Ward said that these volunteers are very enthusiastic.
“Every day when our family needs to buy something, we just write a message and send it to them for help so that we still have food and essentials during quarantine."
Hà Thị Dương, Secretary of the Youth Union of Nghĩa Tân Ward, said the 20-member team was set up very quickly. They were divided into two-member groups that could support 300 families each.
“Most of the volunteers on the team are female, and have small children.”
"They lend a hand in the community with the spirit of the whole country to fight against the pandemic. Everyone enthusiastically participates.”
“If we just contribute a little bit more to the community, we are happy," said Dương.
The local Youth Union also called on donors to provide food and rice and to organise free kitchens for people in need and the functional forces at anti-pandemic checkpoints.
This work has proved popular. Notably, in Đắk R'lap District which borders the southeast provinces - an area with very high rates of infection - 350 volunteers registered to work.
Nguyễn Phi Long, 26, from Gia Nghĩa City, said that when he heard that the Đắk Nông Provincial Youth Union had called on volunteers, he signed immediately.
"Our missions are to assist people in making medical declarations and checking test papers,” he said.
“I cannot stay out of the fight against the COVID-19 enemy, because more than ever, each union member and youth must come together with the Party, State and the whole country to fight the pandemic together.”
Trương Văn Bình, Deputy Secretary of Đắk Nông Provincial Youth Union, said as many as 71 volunteer youth teams with nearly 800 members had been set up, with free kitchens providing more than 1,000 meals for needy children. They had also distributed 100,000 medical masks and 50,000 bottles of antiseptic.
The district's young people have launched programmes called "Sharing love - joining hands to overcome the pandemic" and "Meaningful journey" which call on donations of vegetables and fruits from local residents.
Bình said that the volunteers were equipped with full protective equipment to ensure the health-safety regulation from the Ministry of Health and must be isolated safely.
"We have proposed to the provincial Department of Health the priority vaccination against COVID-19 for cases of reinforcements at pandemic check-points and the rapid response teams”. VNS