Viet Nam News
by Gia Lộc
HCM CITY — Students from 30 HCM City universities are offering house-cleaning services to raise funds for Tết, Lunar New Year festival charity.
The community-based programme is being organised by the honorary South African consul in the city, Đỗ Thị Kim Liên, and is called Nhà Sạch Đón Tết (Cleaning House to Welcome Tết).
The money raised will be used to buy presents and the materials needed to make 1,000 sticky rice cakes to gift homeless people and those living in social welfare centres.
Spring cleaning is a traditional practice in anticipation of Tết, and often in cities these days, since families do not have the time to do the job themselves, hire cleaning services.
Nguyễn Lê Phú Thịnh, a second-year student at the HCM City University of Foreign Languages and Information Technology (HUFLIT) who also took part in the programme last year, said, “The happy smiles, warm hugs and hand shakes from homeless people who got the traditional sticky rice cakes last year encouraged me to continue this year.”
Cleaning houses is not hard work, he said.
Last year nearly 700 sticky rice cakes were presented to homeless people.
“We went around the city looking for them and handing over the cakes.”
Võ Nguyễn Minh Nhựt, a third-year HUFLIT student who is doing this for the third year, said through the programme he made sticky rice cakes for the first time.
“It was interesting.”
Spic and span: A student cleans a house in HCM City’s District 3 to raise funds for making and donating sticky rice cakes to homeless people and residents of social welfare centres. —VNS.photo.Gia Lộc
In large cities, unlike in other places where it is a custom, many young people like Nhựt never get to make the cakes before Tết.
Trần Dương Kim Thanh, a second-year student at RMIT University, said last year she cleaned three or four houses.
“I have more friends after attending the programme besides learning many things such as how to bring happiness to others.”
Huỳnh Thị Nguyên of District 3 said she used the students’ service because she had children the same age.
In the past she used to hire companies for the task.
“I want my children to see the work done by these students and learn. The programme can teach them the dignity of labour and they can earn money themselves to do charity rather than ask their parents for money,” she said.
Liên, the South African consul, who is organising the programme for the third year, hailed it as very humanitarian.
The programme would be expanded throughout the country to benefit more and more disadvantaged people, she added.
True to tradition: City students make banh chung, a traditional Tet food, during the annual Spring Volunteer Campaign. VNS/Photo.Thùy Trang
Other charity programmes
From January 7 to 25 the city-based Việt Nam Students Association is organising a Spring Volunteer Campaign with charity activities at hospitals, shelters, orphanages, special schools for children with disabilities, social welfare centres, students’ and workers’ dormitories, bus and train stations and other places in the city besides Thổ Chu Island in the Mekong Delta province of Kiên Giang.
Using spring themes, students design and decorate the dormitories occupied by students who do not go back home for Tết.
They will also sing and perform skits at the dormitories and make sticky rice cakes and jam to donate to poor people and students.
The Lunar New Year this year falls on January 28. —VNS