|A migrant worker going home for Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday on the free 'Train of Spring'. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Vũ|
HCM CITY — Workers and students in HCM City have been offered free rides home this Tết (Lunar New Year), a gesture of support with the hope that everyone can be reunited with their families.
Yesterday, two ‘Trains of Spring’ carried a total of 138 people, including labourers together with their spouses and children, back to their hometowns in the Central and Northern regions.
The programme, which has been carried out for the past few years, is a practical and meaningful action towards the migrant workers who cannot afford to go home for the holiday.
According to Huỳnh Văn Tuấn, president of the union for industrial parks and export processing zones in the city, the initial plan was to transport 800 people (equivalent to 200 families) on these charity train rides.
However, the demand was lower than in the previous years due to the complicated COVID-19 situation. There were also five other businesses and grassroots unions that helped transport 600 people back to their hometowns.
“In addition to offering free train tickets for the workers to go home with their families for Tết, our federation of labour also provides financial support of VNĐ200,000 (US$8.8)," said Tuấn.
“The CEP (Capital Aid Fund for Employment of the Poor) also hands out face masks, hats and other necessities.”
Trịnh Thị Hạnh from Thanh Hóa Province felt touched and overjoyed with the support. She has been unable to work for three months due to the outbreak in HCM City last year,
Hạnh said: “I have been working in HCM City for the past 10 years, and go back home every Tết. My husband is returning with me today, all of our children are still living in our hometown."
“Many people where I work don’t go home but stay in the city this year."
The workers who chose to stay back also received support from the unions. HCM City Federation of Labour especially offered 4,000 families free packages to Đầm Sen amusement park throughout the holiday, from January 29 to February 7, 2022.
On Thursday, HCM City Communist Youth Union and Suntory PepsiCo Việt Nam Beverage also organised the programme Mang Tết về nhà (Bring Tết home) to help people from HCM City, Đồng Nai and Bình Dương Provinces to return home for Tết.
A total of 540 flight tickets, 325 train tickets, and 3,105 bus tickets (returning trips included) were handed out to people in need.
Earlier on January 23, more than 1000 students and workers were also offered free bus rides home.
|Workers and students on the bus back to their hometowns. — Photo tuoitre.vn|
The trips were organised by the Communist Youth Union, Việt Nam National Union of Students, and the student support centre in HCM City.
Nguyễn Thị Hằng Nga, a student of HCM City University of Agriculture and Forestry who was going home in the central Bình Định Province, expressed her gratitude.
“There are many people who care and readily lend a hand to us students,” she said.
Many migrant labourers from the Central region were also given free bus tickets to their hometowns.
Taking a step further, HCM City plans to coordinate with several provinces to help the students go back to their universities after the holiday. It is expected that up to 1,500 students will return to the city on these bus rides when the pandemic situation is under control.
Việt Nam National Union of Students and the Vietnamese Student Development and Support Centre also handed out VNĐ100 million (US$4,415) in total to support students in need in HCM City.
The free bus ride programme for the Lunar New Year now entered its twenty-first year of operation, having transported a total of nearly 57,000 people home for the holiday.
The local student support centre also plans to hold a gathering and handed out gifts for students who remain in the city, with 1,500 presents given to students of difficult circumstances affected by COVID-19. — VNS