Christmas is a perfect time for people to enjoy the gift of giving; and for these young Vietnamese, carrying out their own meaningful charitable programs is the most loved Christmas present.
In the central province of Thua Thien-Hue, about 40 students from the social work team of Hue University, located in the namesake city, have been dressing up as Santas and giving presents to local children since the beginning of the holiday season.
The activity is part of their service, in which parents hire the young men to act as Santas, distribute gifts, and create a Christmas miracle for their kids.
The youngsters would then be paid VND30,000 (US$1.3) to VND50,000 ($2.2).
All of the money they earn from such service will be used in other charitable programs in the future.
“There are countless Santa Claus services out there, many of which are very professional. But we still chose these students as they are offering them for a greater cause,” Huong, a local parent, said.
According to Truong Tien Du, leader of the social work team, they have about 10 charitable projects every year to help children in remote areas in Thua Thien-Hue.
The team has been running the Santa service to raise funds for the past five years.
“We haven’t accumulated much money yet, but the smiles of the poor children are what we treasure,” Du stated.
Meanwhile, a group of benefactors in Ho Chi Minh City named ‘Xe buyt yeu thuong’ (The loving bus) previously brought this year’s Christmas gifts to children of the Mong ethnic minority in northern Lao Cai Province, which is over 1,870 kilometers away.
Twelve Santas from the group gifted books, pens, warm clothes, and confectionery to more than 70 students at an elementary school in the province.
“Temperature was about eight degrees Celsius while most of the kids did not seem to have enough clothes to keep themselves warm,” said Chau Thanh Tri , 31, who is the group leader.
The members had to sell food, drinks, and fruits in order to raise money for the activity, Tri added.
Another team in Ho Chi Minh City, who call themselves The Puzzle, has also gifted orphaned and disabled children at the Thi Nghe protection center in Binh Thanh District this holiday.
The Puzzle includes about 30 members who are students of local high schools and universities.
They have been raising funds by selling creative handmade bookmarks at only VND7,000 ($0.3) apiece.