|Vũ Trọng Kim (second from right) at a voluntary activity in central Quảng Bình Province in 2000. — Photo tienphong.vn|
HÀ NỘI — Vũ Trọng Kim, former first secretary of the Việt Nam Youth Union, is an outstanding example of a dynamic leader who showed his prowess early on.
Kim is now a member of National Assembly and Presidium of Việt Nam Fatherland Front Committee and chairman of Việt Nam Association of Former Youth Volunteers.
As part of his 32 years contributing to the youth union, he founded Youth Year in 2000 when he was the first secretary of the Việt Nam Youth Union.
The idea for Youth Year in 2000 and a series of voluntary activities left a mark in the history of the Việt Nam Youth Union.
“2000 marked the beginning of a new millennium. Young people always expect and welcome something special, expressing their ambitions for their homeland. Understanding that aspiration, I made a youth union plan called 'Saying Hello to the new century' and named 2000 the Year of the Youth,” Kim said.
The name was approved by the Politburo. But the Youth Year was not only a name, it included a series of dynamic youth voluntary activities that year.
The year 2000 started with Youth Volunteers Campaign, followed by campaigns for young people starting careers and for young people to help protect the homeland.
The activities marked the beginning of a series of successful voluntary programmes in 2000, most of them initiated by Kim. One was the campaign for removing cầu khỉ (footbridges) in Mekong Delta provinces.
“Footbridges in the Mekong Delta are the obsession of local people, especially children travelling to school. Bridges which connect areas are an important part. From that need, the youth programme to assist people to build new bridges was launched,” Kim told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
The biggest difficulty was a lack of funds, he said.
Kim submitted a budget plan to the Government in which 60 per cent of the bridge-building budget was sourced from the State, 30 per cent from the provincial budget and the remaining 10 per cent from the youth. The plan was approved by then Prime Minister Phan Văn Khải.
Some 475 new bridges were built in Cà Mau, Trà Vinh, Bạc Liêu, Sóc Trăng, Bến Tre and Kiên Giang provinces in 2000.
The first bridge was opened on the founding anniversary of the Việt Nam Youth Union on March 26, 2000, in Trần Văn Thời District in Cà Mau Province.
Late Prime Minister Võ Văn Kiệt, then advisor to the Party Central Committee, and Lieutenant-General Đồng Sỹ Nguyên visited some of the new bridges.
“Late Prime Minister Võ Văn Kiệt burst into tears seeing the new bridges had been built. They were something that he wanted to do for many years but couldn’t. Now the youth helped him realise that,” Kim said.
Thanks to the success of the campaign, it was expanded to other areas across the country. Thousands of new bridges were built, bringing changes to local people.
"The Youth Union and young people have become an indispensable part of my life. Although my age is not young anymore, I always have the aspiration of making a contribution like the youth. I always have faith in young people who are reliable descendants of the Party,” he said. VNS