|Hồ Hoàng Liêm (middle) and his charity team together with the children they have helped. — Photo vietnamnet.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Over the past 12 years, Hồ Hoàng Liêm and his charity group Nụ cười hồng Đà Nẵng (Đà Nẵng Pink Smile) have been working tirelessly to help the disadvantaged in the Central region.
Speaking to Vietnamnet online newspaper, Liêm said it all started in 2009 with his first charity trip to Đại Lộc District (Đà Nẵng City) during university.
“Coming from an underprivileged family myself, I felt for them more than ever,” Liêm said. “From that point on, I had a clearer perspective and think that the strength of youth should be used to help others.”
The young man then connected with like-minded students to help those in need. However, it was difficult to raise funds and get support at the beginning as the group was new and all the members were students.
“We were from different schools, some studied economics, some architecture. At that time, we did all kinds of things to raise funds for the disadvantaged, from selling sweets and flowers to holding street concerts,” said Liêm.
They kept up the work for another five years when their members graduated, and by this time, the group had garnered a lot more attention and support.
During the COVID-19 outbreak last year, Liêm and his team created several ‘zero đồng’ markets and delivered food to families in difficult circumstances.
Just last December, they also ran a programme to bring 4,000 items of warm clothes to children in Hướng Hóa District (Quảng Trị Province), Nam Trà My District (Quảng Nam Province) and Kon Tum Province.
In addition to relief work, the group also helps set up solar power systems, water purifiers, and children’s playgrounds in the mountainous regions, with 50 members present in different provinces to provide support when needed.
It has not been an easy feat to bring electricity to these remote areas. Two years ago, 13 people of the group had to walk through the forest to Village 5 in Trà Dơn Commune, Nam Trà My District (Quảng Nam Province), all while carrying the electric devices with them.
|Solar panels for the communes in the mountainous region. — Photo vietnamnet.vn|
Liêm said: “The entire round trip took more than 19 hours on foot. When we saw how people were overjoyed when lights lit up for the first time in the village; we all felt emotional and our hard work was met with people’s happiness in return.”
They have installed 12 solar power plants so far. To make the local children more interested in learning and going to school, Liêm and the team went a step further by setting up mobile cinemas.
“Cinema is a strange thing for students in the mountainous regions. Mobile cinemas allow a more visual view of the lessons, which have long been inaccessible to these children. Afterwards, they can enjoy a cartoon, which makes them more excited about going to school,” said Liêm.
|Children enjoying the 'mobile cinema'. — Photo vietnamnet.vn|
Having accompanied the charity for over four years, Trần Vỹ, vice-principal of Vừ A Dính Elementary School in Nam Trà My District, said: “Liêm and his team put the focus on the dream of children in the mountainous region.”
“They bring in solar power, host Mid-Autumn Festival for the children, and now the mobile cinema. These were truly meaningful actions that allow students in this mountainous area access to new things.”
Ngô Tấn Lạc, chairman of Trà Cang Commune in the same district, said that electricity and children’s playgrounds were still lacking in many residential areas, and the work of Nụ cười hồng Đà Nẵng had a practical impact on the community.
For this Tết (Lunar New Year), the team has been working on a ‘lucky money’ project for 9,000 students in Nam Trà My District.
“Each lucky money envelope contains around VNĐ5,000 to 10,000. While it is not a big amount, it helps bring a traditional Tết holiday for the children.
“Personally, I always tell myself that I will try to help as many people as long as I can. My happiness is bringing joy to others and putting a smile on their faces,” said Liêm. — VNS