A young and enthusiastic group from Volunteer House Vietnam successfully organised the event “The Street Store”, spreading happiness to more than 1,200 people in Soc Son district on the outskirts of Hanoi and in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City. Nguyen Giang reports.
With Tet fast approaching, Vietnamese everywhere are wishing for a more prosperous year ahead. Shops and markets are packed with customers making purchases to prepare their homes and kitchen and welcome a new start for the coming Lunar New Year. The Street Store provides hope for a more comfortable Tet for families from poor rural districts by offering goods free of charge.
The store attracted around 700 shoppers in Hanoi and 500 in Saigon. Though it was advertised as opening at 9am, eager customers were queuing up from 7am. After just five hours, more than four tons of products at both stores had sold out. Every customer left with a warm heart and a happy smile. People were moved to tears by the generosity and kindheartedness shown by the organisers and those donating the items.
The Street Store concept was brought to Vietnam after being successfully held in many places all over the world. It offers a place for extremely low-income families to ‘shop’ for essentials instead of relying on donations handed out by volunteers. Items include both new and used donations of clothes, shoes, household goods, and food.
Head of the project’s organising committee Duong Mi shares, “I totally agree with The Street Store’s approach to people who are living in poverty. Instead of simply increasing donations and handing them out, we can allow receivers initiative and self-control by giving them the opportunity to choose their own goods, and offering both material and spiritual gifts. Through the project we can bring greater happiness.”
The Street Store project fosters an ethos of giving. It is hoped that the overwhelming success of the project will spark similar projects in the future.
By Nguyen Giang