Despite the frigid weather, groups of young people in a province in north-central Vietnam are putting all their effort to bring Tet, or Vietnamese Lunar New Year, to individuals and children in poverty.
Groups of young volunteers, mostly from high schools and universities in Nghe An Province, are passionate about raising funds out of their belief in the significance of a delightful Tet celebration for the poor.
Some groups choose to sell flowers to help the miserable have a fulfilled Tet experience.
In particular, Nghe An’s Affinity Club, founded by Hoang Thi Huong Giang, is dedicated to this kind of activity.
The members, gathering at the front gate of Vinh University, which is located in the provincial capital of Vinh, offers bouquets of lilies from the Tay Tuu flower village, about 20km from the center of Hanoi, to passers-by for fundraising.
With only VND15,000 (roughly US$0.67) per item, 200 lily flower stems were sold in daytime alone.
“We come here to call for donations of clothes, books, as well as sell bouquets of flowers to bring the joy of Tet to poor children,” Giang said.
The group is currently planning to deliver gifts to kids living in poverty in Ky Son District before Tet, which falls on February 8.
Unlike the aforementioned, some decided to make Tet delicacies to celebrate the Lunar New Year with the poor.
This group, called Tri Thuc Tre (Young Intellectuals) Club in Vinh City, operated by Thai Thi Oanh, is one of the kind.
Its aim is to make banh chung, also known as sticky rice cakes, from funds collected via trading scrap and selling pickled mangos.
All the sticky rice cakes will be given to Noc, a fishing village nestled along the Cua Tien River in Vinh City.
The group will then celebrate Tet with youngsters there.
Alongside the activities, members of the group also run free classes for children suffering financial difficulty.
All comes from the heart
The leader of Nghe An’s Affinity Club told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the reason for choosing lilies from the Tay Tuu village as the main source of fundraising is “the flowers grown have bloomed earlier than expected, causing their prices to fall dramatically.”
“Thus, we want to help them, both the children and the growers,” Giang insisted.
“Not only can we help the growers earn some money but we can also bring needy children bundles of joy and happiness, which is really meaningful,” Tran Van Thang, a member of the charity group, smilingly said.
Meanwhile, to the operator of Young Intellectuals Club, “sticky rice cake is surely a must-have in any family’s traditional treats for the Lunar New Year.
“But for the dish, Tet would never be meaningful. Nor would it ever be filled with delight,” said Oanh.
Thus, to have a true experience of Tet, the group has cooked lots of sticky rice cakes “dedicated to the poor families settling down there.”
“That laughter of the children surrounding the huge cooking pot full of sticky rice cakes always makes us happy,” she added.
Tet is one of Vietnam’s traditional celebrations whose meaning honors family reunion and recreation and all members are treated to sticky rice cakes, expressing the best wishes for one another and showing gratitude to ancestors.