|Volunteers delivering necessities to people in lockdown zones. — VNA/VNS Photo Hồng Giang
HCM CITY — In the hardest times during pandemic in HCM City, the HCMC Youth Union and its local chapters promoted “Young COVID strike forces,” with many practical activities gathering a large number of young people to support the city in controlling the outbreak
From the first days of the outbreak, Hóc Môn District Youth Union quickly deployed volunteer teams of more than 10,000 young people. Most notable was the quick response team with the delivery of COVID drugs, oxygen tanks and necessary goods to people in lockdown areas.
Hóc Môn District Youth Union also promotes the campaign "Raising awareness door-to-door," by organising information vans informing people of pandemic prevention methods, implementing the 5K principle, and being vigilant against the pandemic.
Chapters of the Youth Union have mobilised and acted to help district citizens along with donations from organisations and corporations, with a total of more than VNĐ2.3 billion (US$100,744).
In District 10, the Youth Union has built a COVID quick response team of more than 60 volunteers to support pandemic prevention tasks such as supporting vaccination points, sampling tests, quarantine checkpoints, and delivering necessities and food.
The District 10 Youth Union also organised a program to help disadvantaged students who are studying online in the new school year. The program has given 100 gift packages including books and school supplies as well as 100 internet-connected tablets to support remote learning, with a total cost of VNĐ500 million ($21,900).
In District 8, one of the city's COVID-19 hotspots, dozens of members and young people have set up volunteer teams to offer support 14 hours a day at Bình Điền Market to ensure pandemic prevention.
Huỳnh Duy Hiếu, secretary of Bình Điền Market Youth Union, said that with three shifts throughout the day at market entrances, the volunteers are responsible for traffic control, temperature control, medical declaration guidance and small business reminders.
“There are times when we do feel hot, thirsty and exhausted in protective suits, but we are determined to complete the task with the highest effort,” said Hiếu.
Since the outbreak, the HCMC Youth Union has been actively mobilising young people to participate in fighting the pandemic. Through social networking sites under the Union, especially through the website Go Volunteer, tens of thousands of young people have been connected.
Ngô Minh Hải, deputy permanent secretary of the HCMC Youth Union, said that from the first days of the fourth wave in late April 2021, they immediately deployed volunteer teams to respond quickly to the pandemic.
To quickly assemble a large force of volunteers to support the frontline but ensure safety, the delegation has established volunteer management groups, selecting volunteers through applications on the Go Volunteer group on Facebook.
According to Hải, at the beginning of the deployment, the Go Volunteer group only had seven squads with 3,000 members but after only a few weeks, it quickly increased to 27 squads and 72,000 members.
Some days, the number of registered volunteers was up to 3,000 throughout the city and 34 provinces and cities across the country. Up to now, nearly 106,000 volunteers have participated in pandemic prevention in HCM City.
The volunteers coordinated with relevant authorities to coordinate and guide nearly 800,000 people at sampling points; conducted nearly 24,000 hours of data entry at test areas with more than 2.1 million test samples entered; deployed nearly 13,000 volunteers to support vaccination at points, supporting people at treatment facilities and isolation zones; and supported the transport of more than 1,200 tonnes of goods to the medical workers.
Currently, although the pandemic is under control, the Youth Union continues to maintain about 7,000 volunteers in localities ready to support pandemic prevention.
The non-business units of the HCMC Youth Union have implemented many activities to assist people and students affected by the pandemic. In particular, more than 82.6 tonnes of rice and necessities worth VNĐ1.7 billion have been donated through the "Rice ATM" programme.
In addition, the HCMC Youth Union implemented the programme "Community Refrigerator" in eight districts with free necessities worth VNĐ963 million and 4,900 gifts for the vulnerable and disadvantaged people, totalling more than VNĐ1.2 billion. Other programmes of the Youth Union have donated more than VNĐ7 billion.
Recognising the efforts of the city's youth union members in the prevention and control of COVID-19, Hải emphasised that the efforts, perseverance of the Union and thousands of members and young volunteers had brought positive results, helping HCM City overcome the difficulties and challenges of the pandemic to gradually reach the "new normal" as it is now called.
In the coming time, the HCMC Youth Union will continue to actively and flexibly design content and programmes per the new situation, as well as focus on propaganda and volunteering activities supporting people affected by the pandemic.
The local chapters have quickly implemented digital transformation to connect and gather volunteer resources and human resources effectively.
The fight against COVID-19 in HCM City is still ongoing with many challenges, but with the enthusiasm of young people, hope will eventually triumph. — VNS