Civil society takes over the government in hunger reduction amid Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic quickly increased the number of hungry people in big cities while the government’s bailout policy was not fast enough and wide enough to cover it. That was the time when the role of civil society was promoted.

In the early morning of Monday this week, in front of a large yard of a company on Vuon Lai Street (Tan Phu district, Ho Chi Minh City), many people lined up in order. Their feet are placed on small plots painted on bricks, ensuring a minimum distance of 2m in order to prevent Covid-19 expansion.

The first strange “ATM rice” machine is located at 204 B Vuon Lai Street, Tan Phu district, HCM City – The machine consists of a rice tank placed on the roof and the system “Pillar” placed on the sidewalk connected to a smart push button, when people press on the rice will flow out. The amount of “drawn” rice is about 1.5kg each, next to available plastic bags to who came to get rice.

They are the people who are waiting to receive rice from the ATM rice, a source of food to help them cope with the crisis. They belong to the poorest and most vulnerable class during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The epidemic was prolonged, especially when the prime minister’s Directive No. 16 on “Social distance” until April 15 was issued, shops closed and many poor laborers fell into unemployment.

According to the statistics of the Department of Labor – Invalids and Social Affairs in HCM City, nearly 12,000 lottery ticket sellers have encountered difficulties due to Covid-19. The old poor are still poor, the new poor are caused by disease outbreaks, the hunger force has become more crowded than ever.

The long line of people waiting for rice, cooked rice or other necessities is the lively reality of street earners. They are representatives of the poor who do not have food, especially in large cities. Their lives were wrapped up in one day, their daily income is just enough for the working day.

Although the government has a package plan of VND62 trillion for about 20 million people, the state’s assistance packages are often not fast enough to help the poor people. Therefore, many businesses, groups, organizations and individuals have come out to save hunger.

Poor people worry only “Starve to death

Social Smile Restaurant chain operating under the management of Ho Chi Minh City Charity Fund. Smile Restaurant 1 was established in October 2012, so far the chain has grown to the 6th shop. During the pandemic, implementing Directive 16, the shop temporarily closed.

Sharing with BBC News Vietnamese, Mr. Nguyen Tap, a member of Smile Restaurant chain, said:

When we closed the door, the regular customers still came. Many people asked: Close this door and we were unemployed, starving, what should we do. Therefore, we did not provide food at the shop, but distribute cooked rice.”

 “At this time, the pandemic is prolonged and the economy is exhausted, the unemployment is increasing, many people  have no money for food. We talk to each other: We are only afraid of the poor who starve to death before dying from the disease so we tried to ensure the government regulations during the pandemic and still help the poor. When we were ready, we hung the notice board even though we knew the amount of rice we were making does not meet the demand,” Tap said.

Normally, at about 11 o’clock, the restaurant starts to serve, now we cook early to divide the time, not to accumulate at a time. So, although it is for lunch, but 8 am already distributed. Volunteers will supply with a mask and front glass to reduce risks. Just give it quickly and walk in seconds.”

Talking to BBC News Vietnamese, Mr. Huynh Tuan Anh, Director of PHGLock Company, is the owner of the rice ATM initiative, sharing: “The pandemic has depleted the economy and the poor, lottery ticket sellers, have lost their income completely. Besides, I see many brothers and sisters taxi drivers, which are not too poor but now have no earning to feed their families so they are also the objects that need help.”

People crowded and scrambling for a free 3kg of rice per person at a rice ATM in Hanoi – being spread on social networks has caused many compliments

Commenting on this situation of hustle and bustle of rice to save hunger in Hanoi, lawyer Trinh Vinh Phuc in Ho Chi Minh City stated that:

The intuitive person is offensive and scornful!

A calm person comments in moderation and analyzes the causes …

Merciful people are merciful and brash!

People with political tendencies criticize institutions that create weak societies and people lack integrity …

I only feel sadness for my people, because of hunger and living in a social environment with so many inadequacies but gradually losing the dignity and integrity of people!

Knowing that there was a lot of controversy over the fact that people who were not hungry also came to receive relief, Mr. Tuan Anh explained: “We calculated that each time, the rice was only 1.5 kg, so the people who came here were really stuck. They have to ignore the guilt to come to receive rice. Helping people is not too difficult for them. Such a bag of rice is not worth for the well-off to pour gasoline money, buy a mask or wait a few dozen minutes to receive .”

Mr. Huynh Tuan Anh said that the idea of ​​making a rice ATM came from his observation of charitable groups and organizations that were having difficulties in pandemic prevention.

He said: “My side is working on smart building technology and electronic locks so I think why not apply the capital-based business model to charity. I decided to make a rice ATM.

The idea was there but we had a hard time. I asked the staff to finish it in 8 hours. It was Sunday, there was a lack of equipment, so I had to temporarily remove another machine from the company, yes.” It costs about VND1 billion to use it temporarily for the first rice ATM.”

The initiative to distribute rice ATMs to help people who are difficult in the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam has become the focus of international media attention in recent days.

I was overwhelmed by the compassion and generosity of the Vietnamese people. I had enough food and money. I would like to leave those things to other difficult people,” Mr. John wrote.

A machine that can distribute rice for free, which is unbelievable but true. This rice ATM has been installed in many locations across Vietnam to help those most in need of assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic,” CNN commented on April 13.

For those who suddenly lost income, entrepreneurs and sponsors install free rice dispensers in a number of cities across Vietnam,” continued CNN.

CNN wrote: “A machine that can deliver rice for free, which is too incredible but true.”

According to CNN, to prevent the disease, those who come to receive rice are required to stand 2 m apart and must use clean hand sanitizer water before receiving rice. In Hanoi, the time to deliver rice is from 5AM to 5PM while in HCM City, people have to come to receive rice at any time. Rice ATMs like this one also appear in Hue and Da Nang.

CNN wrote: “In the center of Hue city, a rice ATM machine is located at a college that provides about 2 kg of rice for free to every local resident. In HCM City, ATM rice withdrawals operate non-stop while in Da Nang, two rice ATMs will be set up next week.”

Meanwhile, Reuters news agency on April 13 shared the feelings of the poor when receiving timely support from businesses, which are also struggling between the Covid-19 pandemic.

That is the story of Nguyen Thi Ly, a 34-year-old woman with an unemployed husband and 3 children in HCM City.

She said: “This rice ATM machine is very useful. This bag of rice is enough for us to eat for a day. Now we just need more food. The neighbors sometimes share their food with us, if not, we’ll have to eat instant noodles. I read the information about this rice ATM on the Internet, I came to see if it was true and could not believe this was true. Donors can maintain it until the end of the outbreak.”

Reuters also quoted from Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, director of electronic lock company PHG Lock, owner of the rice ATM initiative, saying he wanted people to still be able to receive food and many other goods despite difficulties of the disease. “I call this machine a rice ATM because people can get rice from it and hope they understand that there are still good people out there who want to give them a second chance,” Tuan Anh said.

A series of newspapers in the world such as US News, New York Post (USA), Bristish Herald (UK), Bangkok Post (Thailand), Gulf News (UAE), Taipei Times (Taiwan), ABC News (Australia), Aljazeera (Qatar) … republished the information on Reuters.

On the same day, the International Business Times (USA) assessed Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh’s initiative as “very ingenious” during the pandemic season. The newspaper also quoted Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh as saying that the idea of ​​this rice ATM machine came from the fact that he realized that the traditional distribution of rice would cause people to gather in large numbers, increasing the risk of infection.

When the first rice ATM plant in Ho Chi Minh City distributed free and automatic rice to the poor in Vuon Lai (Tan Phu District), many people were impressed by it, at another small workshop in District 2 (TP). .HCM), a young entrepreneur and employees are also quietly producing many new rice ATMs.

We do not sell these rice ATMs. We will donate to the benefactors and will join them in mobilizing rice to distribute to those in difficult circumstances. We will connect with hearts everywhere, rice supporters and installation sites. We will bring the machine to give free to the people in need of this Covid-19 pandemic,” said Ms. Vo Ngoc Anh, 37 years old, CEO of Vinalinks Group, who is encouraging her brothers in the company quickly promptly completed 11 rice ATMs to promptly serve people in the next few days.

Vo Ngoc Anh said the idea of ​​making a rice ATM machine to give to the community came from the context of Covid-19, which made many poor workers more difficult to make a living. These automatic rice generators will solve short-term difficulties, helping people have full meals.

We also realize that many benefactors want to support the poor but do not know how, because volunteering is not easy, so with rice ATM, we can connect many hearts. The cost of making the machine is taken from a charity fund. When we see helping the community, getting support from people, we feel we are more meaningful,” Ms. Ngoc Anh said.

Nguyen Truong Tuyen (37 years old), Ms. Ngoc Anh’s husband, said that the first model rice ATM machine has been completed, 10 more are being urgently completed. These machines are characterized by being placed on the ground, do not need to be transported up, when people line up and proceed to receive rice, the machine will recognize people coming, then just need to pedal on one. It is necessary that the rice will flow.

If there are continued sponsors supporting the production of this automatic rice generator, we will continue to produce rice ATMs to donate to the places in need of support,” Tuyen said.

The Party and Government of Vietnam always exhort and illustrate the superiority of the Communist regime to the socialist regime, but whenever people are in trouble, only the people in the country love, help and support each other. to survive.

Affordable, ruling officials have gotten rich enough by stealing public funds, corrupting and exploiting the people, so they have lost social responsibility.

The Communist Party of Vietnam has completely “changed color,” far from its platform and left the working class, farmers, intellectuals to themselves to grapple with the difficulties piling up in the pandemic season.

Trung Nam from Da nang – (Translated)