|A man receives free rice from an 'ATM' in the coastal south-central province of Bình Thuận. —VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Thanh|
HÀ NỘI — An outpouring of support has been shown for people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, including providing free rice for underprivileged people and supporting poor teachers and students.
It is estimated that nearly a hundred so-called rice ATMs have been set up across the country following the success of the first one located in HCM City’s Tân Phú District.
The concept started with Hoàng Tuấn Anh, head of PHGLock Company - a company that specialises in smart home appliances in HCM City.
A new rice ATM was set up as recently as Sunday in Tuy Hòa City in the coastal south-central province of Phú Yên, offering 10 kilos per person.
Nguyễn Thị Yến, 60, said it was great idea.
“It's helping poor people survive during the pandemic,” she said.
Two more rice ATMs were also set up last Friday in Phan Thiết City in the coastal south-central province of Bình Thuận.
In Hàm Tiến Ward, each person will receive three kilos of rice each time. About five tonnes of rice have been stored, donated by local people.
In Đức Nghĩa Ward, each person will receive five kilos of rice each time, and the ATM aims to serve 600 poor households in the city.
In the Central Highland province of Kon Tum, the provincial Youth Union set up a rice ATM last Friday, offering each person five kilos of rice each time.
Y Việt Sa, chief of the union, said they had collected more than 10 tonnes of rice from donors to help the poor.
In the central province of Thừa Thiên Huế, a mobile rice ATM has been serving poor households in the mountainous communes of Đông Sơn, A Roàng and Lâm Đớt in A Lưới District.
The mobile ATM, which is actually a truck, was the idea of a voluntary group named Huế Của Tui (My Huế).
A representative of the group said most members were teachers in high schools, colleges and universities in the province who realised the need for a mobile rice ATM in remote and mountainous areas where many poor people lived.
The group had collected more than three tonnes of rice so far to help poor people, she said.
Nguyễn Mạnh Hùng, chairman of the district's People’s Committee, told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) online newspaper that he had thanked the volunteers for their kindness.
“It’s a great idea,” he said.
“We will try our best to support the group so the mobile ATM can reach more poor people,” he said.
Also last Friday, the local Youth Union and the Royal Việt Nam Co Ltd donated rice to poor and underprivileged people in the northern province of Nam Định.
Each person received three kilos of rice, and over 10 tonnes have been donated by local people.
In the south-central province of Khánh Hòa, Nha Trang University has launched a programme worth VNĐ8 billion (US$339,000) to support poor teachers and students affected by the pandemic.
The school is giving poor students VNĐ100,000 ($4) each per month to pay for internet bills so they can learn online, while poor teachers are getting VNĐ1 million ($42) per month.
Head of the university Trang Sĩ Trung said the support package was drawn from the school’s budget to help both teachers and students overcome difficulties triggered by the pandemic. — VNS