Volunteers from the Hearts Linking Bridge club organise a game for local children in Sang Pa Village, Pho Cao commune, Dong Van district, Ha Giang province at a Mid-Autumn Festival event the club hosted for the children. Source: VNA
In broken Vietnamese, she described the surprises she and hundreds of other kids in the villages of Sang Pa, Seo Lung, Lung Sinh, Sa Lung A, and Sa Lung B, in Pho Cao commune, Dong Van district, the northern province of Ha Giang experienced at the 'Mid-Autumn Festival for You – Welcome to Schools' event.
“They gave us cakes, candies, lots of study equipment,” she said. “They gave us a delicious lunch. Then they organised games for us. I felt so happy. It was the first time I tasted Mid-Autumn cakes. They are so delicious.”
The idea to help less fortunate children experience a joyous Mid-Autumn Festival came from a charity field trip the Hanoi-based Bridge Linking Hearts Club took to Muong Nha commune, Dien Bien district, Dien Bien province.
At the end of July, young members of the club visited Pha Thanh Village in Muong Nha to hand gifts to 68 needy families.
“The trip impressed us,” said Nguyen Ngoc Hung, chairman of the club. “We knew children in remote areas have never had a true Mid-Autumn festival. I thought about an activity spreading full moon festival from plain areas to high mountain areas.”
Within a month, the members contributed money and called for financial aid from friends, and wealthy people.
“Mobilising financial aid through Facebook is not easy,” said teacher Le Van Uy, deputy chairman of the club. “Especially at the present time, when charity groups are everywhere, including fake ones which aim just for profit. Yet we still got the support as we have acted with transparency in finances.”
The club was established in 2016, gathering intellectuals, workers and students together to run various charity activities including blood donating, supporting needy patients in Hanoi and giving gifts to poor people.
Sang Pa village was chosen for the club’s event as it's located near Pho Cao commune’s centre, making it more convenient for children from other villages to attend.
According to local authorities, children enjoy Mid-Autumn Festival every year thanks to schools, the Youth Union and Women's Union.
However, the commune is among the extremely poor communes of Dong Van district, so the festival is small and traditional cakes are still “luxurious things” to local children, Hung said.
The club gathered 300 gifts of Mid-Autumn cakes, candies, milk, notebooks, pens, warm clothes and traditional toys for the festival.
Young members in the club also made 350 portions a 'Hanoi lunch' of rice, meat and vegetable soup for the Mong children.
“We did this so the children felt like they were visiting the capital, 400km away from the karst plateau, to enjoy Mid-Autumn Festival,” Hung said.
Children in other villages received other gifts.
“Just looking at the innocent smiles of local children, we forgot our tiredness after 14 hours of driving,” Hung said.
“We hope local children will remember this year’s Mid-Autumn Festival," Hong Quan, a first-year student club member, said.
The festive cheer is alive elsewhere too, and local authorities in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak have hosted Mid-Autumn Festival events for children in remote and mountainous villages, giving hundreds of gifts to children.
In M’Drak district, 1,000 gifts were given to children, as well as free medical checks.
Authorities also handed out 30 grants, each worth 800,000 VND in cash (34.5 USD) to needy children with good academic results and 30 bicycles.
The Central Highlands Eye Hospital offered 50 gifts, at the total cost of 10 million VND (431 USD) while M’Drak district authorities have handed 100 gifts worth a total 30 million VND (1,300 USD) to needy children in the locality.
The Red Journey Group in Dak Lak province hosted a Mid-Autumn Festival for children at the Central Highlands Hospital and residing in Ea H’leo district, 100km away from Dak Lak province’s centre.
According to Hoang Minh Trung, a ccoordinator of the group, the members raised funds for the event by making household utensils, drawing calligraphic works and collecting recycled materials.
The group has given gifts to 200 children in Cu Mot commune, Ea H'leo district and to 500 children at the hospital.
Lai Thi Loan, deputy director of Dak Lak province’s Labours, War Invalids and Social Affairs Department said the department plans to hold a Mid-Autumn Festival for children in remote areas at a total cost of 1 billion VND (43,100 USD).
“Though their lives are still in difficult conditions, children in the province have been cared for warmly at the event,” Loan said.