HCM CITY — Ngô Thị Quýt may be 95 years old, but that is not stopping her from making free face masks for the poor.
Quýt, who is known as a charitable woman living in HCM City’s Gò vấp District, is taking part in the Women’s Union in Ward 5 charity project that sews face masks for people in need.
The demand for face masks has risen recently due to the spread of COVID-19.
“I have made free blankets and collected used clothes and then gifted them to poor people for 21 years. In the news, people are being encouraged to help out, either with money or by acts of kindness. I don't have a lot of money, so this is how I can help,” Quýt said.
Vietnamese Heroic Mother Ngô Thị Quýt, 95, from HCM City’s Gò Vấp District, uses her foot pedal sewing machine to make free face masks for poor people. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Diệp
Phan Thị Hồng Đào, head of the women’s union of Quarter 6 in Ward 5, said the ward’s project aims to help reduce costs for struggling residents during the pandemic.
Quýt is affectionately called Má (mother) by neighbours for her noble action and title of Vietnamese Heroic Mother.
“She has been here a long time. A few days ago I asked to borrow her scissors. I told her that we are making face masks. She immediately told me she wanted to join hands with us,” Đào said.
“Everything is expensive these days. Each person needs not one mask, but four to five masks.”
Đào said Quýt and other union members have made over 200 face masks and gifted them to locals in their quarter.
“People are very thankful for our members' actions and how helpful they are,” Đào said.
Quýt used to sew clothes for soldiers during the war and now she continues to do what she can to fight a new crisis.
In 2015, Quýt was recognised with the State title of Vietnamese Heroic Mother for her contributions and sacrifices to the country’s liberation.
She lost her husband and a son during the war with the US. She also joined the revolution in Huế but was captured and exiled to Côn Đảo Island in Vũng Tàu Province.
She lives with her other son’s family and does charity work during her free time.
“I have great compassion for poor people. I am not rich, but there are many others who are struggling more than I am,” Quýt said.
“My family members always encourage me to do this if I feel happy, and I really like doing this,” she said.
Showing no signs of slowing down in her old age, Quýt skillfully cuts fabric for face masks. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Diệp
Making face masks is not too difficult, but it requires careful techniques.
Quýt is still agile. She does things very skillfully, from drawing the shape of mask on fabric, cutting out fabric pieces, and sewing masks with her old foot pedal sewing machine.
“I have a lot of free time, so I can do this whenever I feel good,” she said.
“To be healthy and helpful, the greater happiness I have.”
She will continue doing the charity work for as long as she can, she said.
Face masks gifted to people in need. Wearing face masks is among the preventive measures being used during the COVID0-19 pandemic. — VNS Photo Nguyễn Diệp
Her action is small, but it shows her kindness to the community during a stressful time.
Quýt has also been making blankets for the poor for more than 20 years, but has never wanted publicity for her actions. — VNS