Life in Vietnam

Sunday, 21/04/2024 09:12

Fly To Sky contributes to building a better Việt Nam

Gia Linh

Enthusiastic and generous might be the most common words associated with young Vietnamese people today. Not only do a majority of them excel in school, but they have also made great contributions to society and their communities.

Lê Văn Phúc, a 22-year-old university student in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, is no exception as he is the deputy head of the Southern National Volunteer Network and founder of the charity Fly To Sky.

Fly To Sky is a non-profit organisation dedicated to alleviating social problems in Việt Nam that focuses on five main aspects: clean energy and sustainable environment, social security, financial support, community healthcare, and culture and education. 

Lê Văn Phúc, a 22-year-old university student and founder of the Fly To Sky charity.  Photo courtesy of Lê Văn Phúc

Since 2019, Fly To Sky has organised over 27 community-based projects and over 150 programmes and campaigns throughout the country at a cost of around VNĐ12 billion (US$481,000). 

But such impressive numbers would not have been achieved if it had not been for Phúc’s courage and determination six years ago.

“I think my will to contribute to society sprouted from having done several small charity trips with my family to hospitals in my hometown. Back then, I realised how important support, sympathy, and caring are towards underprivileged people,” Phúc told Việt Nam News.

But there were no charity groups or clubs for students like him in the province at that time, Phúc said, so having a group in which young people could utilise their strengths to contribute to society was in dire need.

“As a person who likes to challenge myself, I did not hesitate. One evening, after collecting opinions from my friends, I decided to launch Fly To Sky and sent out a registration form for those who were interested,” he said.

At first, Fly To Sky had only around 40 students from the province’s Pleiku City. They started out by running small fund-raising projects, such as selling lucky money envelopes for Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday, singing, and calling for donations from those around them.

“Fortunately, our projects were very well received by the community. People saw our progress and supported us through monetary donations or even by joining our projects. Having more resources and reputation allowed us to organise our activities on a larger scale and connect with esteemed partners and sponsors,” Phúc said.

Thanks to support from the community, the team now has one branch in Gia Lai and one in HCM City, with over 200 members (80 per cent are high school students) and 6,700 volunteers from all over the country. 

With continuing effort and dedication, both Fly To Sky’s branches officially became members of the National Volunteer Network under the Việt Nam Volunteer Centre in 2020.

One of Fly To Sky’s prominent ongoing projects is “Tủ Sách Bồ Câu Trắng” (White Dove Bookcase) to foster reading and provide underprivileged students access to textbooks and other reading materials.

Through this, they have donated over 47,000 books and textbooks and 33 bookcases/mini-libraries to remote schools and charity homes. 

“Tủ sách bồ câu trắng” (White Dove Bookcase) is a project to foster reading and provide underprivileged students access to textbooks and other reading materials.  Photo courtesy of Fly To Sky

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the team also sent out over 20 tonnes of produce, 400,000 medical masks, 55,000 hand sanitisers, food and other medical supplies in 15 cities and provinces, as well as donated 25 laptops to needy students in Gia Lai to assist them in online learning.

Phúc also takes pride in his ongoing “Đổi Sách Lấy Cây” (Exchanging Books for Plants) programme, with over 30 exchange stations across HCM City, Hà Nội, Cần Thơ, Hải Phòng and the provinces of Long An, Tây Ninh, Lâm Đồng, and Bình Định.

It encourages young people to be more active in recycling and raising awareness about environmental protection.

By 2023, his team had collected over 16 tonnes of unused books and paper and 26,000 clothing items and stuffed animals in exchange for plants, seeds, eco-straws, and other environmentally friendly products. 

Phúc (centre) and his team are running “Đổi sách lấy cây” (Exchanging Books for Plants) across nine provinces to raise awareness on recycling and environmental protection.  Photo courtesy of Fly To Sky

Textbooks and other kinds of reading materials will be used for the Exchanging Books for Plants project; scrap paper and carton boxes will be sent to recycling plants; and clothing items and stuffed animals will be sorted out and sent to children in remote areas.

Other aspiring works of the team include a scholarship programme named “Học Bổng Cánh Chim Xanh” (Bluebird Scholarship) for Vietnamese students, the “Chiến Sĩ Lọc Nước” (Water Filter Heroes) project to provide children in rural areas with access to freshwater, and the “Tôi yêu Tổ Quốc Tôi” (Love for My Nation) to encourage the youth to contribute to society and to the country.

For Phúc, carrying out and developing any programme, project, or campaign requires the team to stay realistic and committed, as well as design a long-term and sustainable plan. It is all about wisely using available resources to achieve set goals and handle problems in a professional manner. 

“If someone decides to support Fly To Sky, it is their trust in us that matters. All we need to focus on is trying our best to improve the community and prove that we, as young Vietnamese people, can overcome limitations,” he said.

Phúc has received the “Trái Tim Nồng Ấm” (Kind Heart) award from Russia and multiple other achievements for his exemplary work. He is currently on the list of nine promising young Vietnamese faces for 2023 for his remarkable contributions in social activities.

For Fly To Sky, the team has been among the top outstanding organisations to be awarded by the Việt Nam Youth Federation. It has also received five awards from various institutions.

This year, Fly To Sky hopes to expand its current projects to a larger scale and continue to attract and encourage more people to contribute to their community.

"Volunteer work, in general, encourages young people to be responsible for their country and community and provides them with experiential opportunities, which in turn can help these people become productive members of society," Phúc said.

“I believe that if young people like me can stand ready to fight challenges and step out of their comfort zones, they can excel in almost everything. Multiple small efforts together can create such a big impact in the community.”  VNS

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