Mr Thanh is having trouble sleeping. His anxious eyes search the street as the mosquito-repelling incense burns its self-away beside him.
Mr Thanh (from Ba Ria Vung Tau Province) used to drive a three-wheeled pedicab around the city; unfortunately, it was confiscated by the market controllers. He must now try to make a meagre living as a scavenger. Having been living in Sai Gon for the past 20 years, Mr Thanh laboured tirelessly but could never make enough to rent a house.
“I don’t have the money to rent a house,” he said, “But it’d be a waste; I wouldn’t stay at home during the day and would sleep only for a while in it at night” (Lao Dong Newspaper, 2017).
The Lunar New Year of the Dog is arriving and millions of Vietnamese people are enthusiastically preparing to welcome a new spring beside their families and friends. However, for the thousands of homeless people scattered across Sai Gon in lonely street corners like Mr Thanh, this spring brings nothing new. For them there were no places of refuge, no families to love, no friends to meet or loved ones with which to share a nice warm meal of Tet rice cake – a pleasure that all other Vietnamese families can surely afford.
Thus, to bring a little warmth to people such as Mr Thanh during the festive spring days of 2018, TU HOA-CICG is honoured to step out and encourage friends, families and those with a kind heart to join in and give. We are delighted to announce that delivery of New Year Gifts will be made to the homeless people of Sai Gon as well as to individuals, families, and sick patients that are in need. A few of these cases include the family of Little Quy in Hoi An who is diagnosed with leukemia (blood cancer) and the family of Hung who is currently in critical conditions after a vehicle accident in Hoa Vang, Da Nang. Your help in fundraising for this cause would bring great happiness to our team and the gift-receivers. TU HOA-CICG hopes that these small, loving gifts will help deliver a warm and meaningful New Year to these less fortunate people of Vietnam. We are aiming to fundraise 100 gift packages with a value of 200,000 VNDs each. The gift packages will contain boxes of sweets, milk cartons, and traditional Tet rice cakes – all within a budget of 100,000VNDs. Another 100,000VNDs in cash will be gifted as lucky money with each package. For the two aforementioned families in Hoi An and Danang, TU HOA-CICG intends to dedicate them 3-5 million VNDs (which can subject to increase or decrease depending on the amount we manage to fundraise). Overall, the total sum of money aiming to be fundraised is 26-30 million VNDs ($1,500 - $1,900 AUDs).
a homleess man is riding around in search for a place to take a sleep (at 01 am)
It is truly difficult to know exactly how many homeless people there are roaming the side streets and alley ways of Sai Gon. There are, however, statistics to suggest that this population has risen to more than 10,000 people. Considering street children in this city alone, the numbers have been rising to at least 10,000 according to the estimations made in research reports from the Terre des Homes Foundation in 2004.
In Ho Chi Minh City alone, street children have been estimated to number in the tens of thousands
The homeless people of Sai Gon range from children, adolescents, men and women, to middle-aged individuals and elderly people from various parts of Vietnam. They have, in majority of cases, migrated to the city in search of a living, finding temporary and rough shelters under the city bridges or beneath the eaves of houses along a street. Others have sought for a place at community shelters or have been forced to make do with bus stops, hospital corridors and the market floor across the city.
We, therefore, invite you to join us in this heart-warming project, sharing happiness and love to those residing in solitude out on the streets of Sai Gon. As a start to the project, members of TU HOA-CICG have actively explored numerous homeless cases around the city on the 15th and 16th of January 2018. We will continue sharing news with you as the project proceed. Your contribution and help thus far has been deeply appreciated.
Dr Tien Dang, founder of TU HOA-CICG
Following are some more photos on the homeless residing on the street around Sai Gon taken by TỪ HOA-CICG on 15 and 16 January, 2018 at 22 and 23 pm.
Lao Động Newspaper: Sài Gòn Đêm và Những Mảnh đời (Hà Nguyên) (04/04/2017) URL: https://laodong.vn/phong-su/sai-gon-dem-va-nhung-manh-doi-525734.ldo
Terre des homes foundation (2004). A study on street children in Ho Chi Minh City. National Political Publisher. [Online] Available from:http://www.slideshare.net/Tdhinfancia/street-children-in-ho-chi-minh-city-tdh
Quangduc.com (2017) Hãy giúp em Đỗ Mai Ngọc Quý bị ung thư ở Đà Nẵng. URL: https://quangduc.com/a61056/giup-em-do-mai-ngoc-quy-bi-ung-thu-mau-o-da-nang
Dantri.com.vn (2016). Bố chạy xe ôm nhặt nhạnh từng đồng cứu con nguy kịch vì tai nạn giao thông. URL: http://dantri.com.vn/tam-long-nhan-ai/bo-chay-xe-om-nhat-nhanh-tung-dong-cuu-con-nguy-kich-vi-tai-nan-giao-thong-20160227222317083.htm