Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Some seniors in Việt Nam are proving age is just a number and continue to work well into their twilight years.
Although past the working age, they chose to continue employment and are contributing to the country in different fields, especially business.
One example is Huỳnh Văn Bé, 68, from Đồng Tháp Province in the Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta. Owner of a salt production company, he has been recognised as one of the best elderly businessmen nationwide this year.
It is not always butterflies and rainbows for Bé. Born into a poor working class family, he had no proper education and worked as a farmer from a very young age.
In 1998, he borrowed VNĐ100 million (US$4,300) from the bank to raise quail, but they all died from disease. Forced to sell their house and land to pay debts, Bé and his wife became one of the poorest households in his hometown.
Two years later, he got the chance to learn salt drying skills from a friend in the southern province of Tây Ninh, who lent him tools and money to lay the foundation for his salt company. Between 2012 and 2017, the company produced and sold a total of 4,000 tonnes of salt, generating VNĐ160 billion ($6.86 million) in revenue.
Not only did Bé encourage senior residents over 50 years in good health conditions to apply for jobs at his company, he also took in jobless youngsters whom others wouldn’t employ, like people with drinking problems and bad backgrounds.
His company is currently employing 50 locals, who are paid VNĐ4-5 ($171-214) per month and provided with annual health and accident insurance coverage.
Huỳnh Văn Bé hands a gift bag to a disadvantaged woman in hometown in Đồng Tháp Province. — Photo baodongthap.vn
As an philanthropist, Bé established a fund to support 200 disadvantaged elderly people in his hometown, providing them with either necessities worth VNĐ200,000 ($8.6) per person per month, or cash.
Speaking about this charity effort, Bé said: “I understand how it feels to have nothing, to be broke, because I have been there.
“I hope I will get richer so that I can help more disadvantaged people. I want to spend about VNĐ500 million ($21,400) per year on charity,” he told Dân Việt online newspaper.
Another example of hardworking elderly people is Nguyễn Thị Thuý, 75, based in Bắc Ninh Province in the Red River Delta. She owns a textile company that generates more than VNĐ10 billion ($429,000) revenue annually.
Thúy only started the company after she had retired from her job of 27 years as a high school teacher. With zero experience in business and little financial knowledge, she pledged her house as collateral to borrow money from the bank, learned the textile manufacturing skills, and established a small textile co-operative with 20 workers.
The business grew, and now she has 100 workers full-time in a 100sq.m factory. Not only retaining a stable number of domestic clients, Thúy also exports her textile products to some countries in Eastern Europe such as Russia, Poland, and Turkey.
With 90 per cent of her workers women and 30 of them are people with disabilities, Thúy has been paying great attention to providing them with a safe and secure working environment. Her employees are paid at least VNĐ6 million ($257) per person per month and provided with social insurance coverage.
Speaking about her experience running the business, Thúy said: “For me the happiest thing in life is to be able to work, to contribute to society, and to do good things for my family despite my old age.
“I feel happy and healthy. I cherish my life.” — VNS