District commends community heroes

District 5’s Fatherland Front Committee has recently commended local organizations and individuals that have made meaningful contributions to the community.

Mr. Le Van Canh (R) chairman of Tue Thanh Club –House offer scholarship to a poor student

For many years now, residents of District 5 have widely known about the charity meals offered by Tu Duc Monastery to poor patients receiving treatment at An Binh, Cho Ray, Nguyen Tri Phuong and Nguyen Trai hospitals.

Every day at lunch time, with a lunchbox in their hands, poor patients or their relatives queue in front of the charity kitchens to get vegetarian food. For dinner, they are given a nutritious mixture of porridge and mixed vegetables.

Families of poor patients who die during treatment are given free coffins to ease their financial burden.

The Most Venerable Thich Ton That, abbot of the monastery said, “To live, you must have a shelter, to die, you must have a grave. We give the dead person a coffin so that he will not feel self-pity [in after-life].

To be able to carry out such noble deeds, the Most Venerable That has joined hands with benefactors throughout the district. Thanks to his prestige, he can appeal to generous people to lend a helping hand to the impoverished in the community.

To mark the Buddha’s birthday this year, the Most Venerable That organized trips to remote areas to donate rice and foodstuffs to poor people.

The Tu Duc Monastery has so far reportedly spent VND17 billion (US$960,000) on charity projects, such as building bridges and roads, and helping blind people to receive eye surgery.

Located on Nguyen Trai Street, Tue Thanh Club House of Chinese Buddhists, originally from Guangdong Province, China, has become famous for its members’ charitable deeds.

For many years now, Le Van Canh, head of the club’s administrative board, has spent most of his spare time on charity activities, like giving care to elderly people or helping poor people in the district.

Mr. Canh goes from door to door to collect money, food and old clothes and then distributes them to elderly people living alone, poor students or orphans for Tet or other big holidays.

Diep Lan, a poor Chinese woman living in Ky Hoa apartment building in Ward 11 said, “After SGGP published an article about my 100 year old mother, who has to earn money by wandering from street to street to sell lottery tickets, a representative of the clubhouse visited and gave us help.

“My mother has also received gifts from the club for special events like Tet or Vu Lan (Buddhist parents’ day),” she added.

Recently, the club has raised a subscription of VND30 million from the Buddhist community and donated it to soldiers based on the Spratly Islands.

Residents in District 5 have given the nickname “compassionate Buddhist” to Vo Thi Truc Linh, because of her voluntary work with HIV/AIDS patients.

Working at the department that gives consultancy, assistance and support to the community of District 5 Preventive Health Center, Ms. Linh is now taking care of some 200 patients who are receiving long-term treatment at the hospital.

She never shows fear or disgust when cleaning the ulcerated wounds of a terminal AIDS patient.

Ms. Linh also goes to house of patients who, for whatever reason, cannot go to the hospital for treatment to help relatives take care of them.

Fully aware that not many victims can face the truth and bear talking about their conditions, Ms. Linh attentively gives them advice on how to protect themselves and not spread HIV, and encourage them to live life in a positive way.

Ms. Linh said, “I see the patients as my brothers, sisters or close relatives.”

In 2008, Reverend Thich Le Minh, abbot of Thien My Temple, won the prize for the best teller of stories about Uncle Ho, organized by the Central Propaganda and Education Board for contestants in the Southern part of the country.

The Reverend has also studied the common points between Ho Chi Minh’s thoughts and Buddha’s teachings to apply them into his daily activities.

Rev. Minh has also raised some VND80 million and given it to poor families as starting funds so for small businesses.

Dang Thi Minh Phuong, deputy chairman of District 5’s Fatherland Front said, “Reverend Thich Le Minh knocks on the door of poor people to give them help, instead of waiting for them to knock on the door of his temple.” 

By Minh Anh – Translated by Phuong Lan

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