A student exercises on the horizontal bars at a school in Khánh Hòa Province. — VNA/VNS Photo
KHÁNH HÒA — A veteran of the American War in Việt Nam, living in Nha Trang, Khánh Hòa Province, has donated VNĐ1 billion (US$43,000) to help local schools upgrade outdoor fitness areas for students.
Nguyễn Thi Thanh, 64, said he had a desire to help the younger generation improve their physical strength and health.
Thanh said that he sold a spot of his family's land and donated the proceeds.
Returning from the Cambodian battlefield in 1979, Thanh had to do many jobs to make a living. Now his children have grown up and his income is stable.
Thanh participated in a charity programme giving outdoor gym equipment to local schools to help improve the health of students by the Yersin Charity Association, based in Nha Trang.
Last July, the programme lacked money to buy equipment. Thanh, after speaking with his family, decided to donate VNĐ1 billion to the programme.
The programme, which started in 2017, has received VNĐ200 million ($8,600) from the Khánh Hòa Salanganes Nest Company, VNĐ100 million from Sài Gòn-Khánh Hòa Business Association, and money from other local donors.
"When I decided to sell land for the programme, I was supported by my family. Although my family is not well off, I find my job very meaningful. Because it is not only dream of mine, and of the association’s members, but also the expectation of all students to improve their health and strength," Thanh said.
A set of three horizontal bars at different height costs about VNĐ15 million (including installation fee). Made of stainless-steel, the bars are designed to match the height of local students, according to Thanh. So far, 154 sets have been built for free at schools, including four universities, three colleges, and many high schools. About 10 sets were installed on the beach and in some parks.
About 120,000 students were believed to be practicing every day with the horizontal bars.
Trần Thiện Dũng, principal of Trần Quốc Toản Secondary School in Nha Trang said that teachers and students were very excited about exercising with the horizontal bars.
“It’s very helpful. After learning, the students practice hard. This exercise helps them stretch after hours sitting in the chair,” he said.
He hopes this model will be expanded at all schools and public parks, and residential areas.
Khánh Hòa Province’s Department of Education and Training praised the programme of Yersin Charity Association, especially Thanh’s contribution.
Lê Đình Thuần, deputy director of the department, said that although it is not yet included in the school’s official curriculum, in break time, students can use the bars to exercise.
Thanh said some offices and organisations contacted the Khánh Hòa-Yersin Charity Association to propose helping them installing sets of horizontal bars in their localities.
“I am happy to help with advice or technical support. What I want most now is to call for donors to be able to help more schools.”
"The programme will be known and expanded to other provinces," said Thanh. — VNS