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Volunteer pedaling the Millennium Development Goals in Viet Nam
24 March 2004

Ho Chi Minh City: Departed from Ha Noi on International Volunteer Day, 5 December, Dung, a young bike enthusiast, arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, realizing his dream of visiting different parts of his homeland by disseminating the United Nations' (UN) message about poverty reduction to young people. Dung followed the footsteps of Thang, the hero of "Thang’s journey to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and beyond", a booklet recently published by the United Nations in Viet Nam, distributed along the way. Instead of hitting the road by train, like Thang did, Dung decided to combine the trip with one of his passions, thus jumping on his bicycle.

"I volunteered to take this trip to make youth understand the MDGs. I want to encourage each of them to take action and engage themselves in the country’s development process" said Dung. During his journey, he witnessed the difficulties his generation is facing. His concern and the motivation to bring about change is great. The distributed around 1,000 booklets, showing his willingness to promote volunteerism and create awareness.

Dung cycled throughout Viet Nam, stopping at Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Da Lat, Vung Tau to reach his final destination Ho Chi Minh City. Along the way he was given the continuous support of the Youth Union, who helped Dung to take each opportunity to talk to the Vietnamese youth about volunteerism and the MDGs.

Indeed, the UN enhances youth participation in the economical, social, political and cultural life of the society "because youth is the major force of Viet Nam’s future" explained Jordan Ryan, UN Resident Coordinator. "The journey to (achieving) MDGs is a long and difficult one like the war against poverty. The UN is glad the young generation of Viet Nam takes on these challenges with enthusiasm. We are sure that Viet Nam will be a much more prosperous nation if the country taps into the energy of youth like Dung" said Jordan after congratulating him on achieving his journey in great health.

The eight MDGs -- eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; achieving universal primary education; promoting gender equality; reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; ensuring environmental sustainability; and developing a global partnership for development -- were adopted by 189 countries, including Viet Nam, at the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000. The MDGs represent a consensus by world leaders on global development priorities and goals to the year 2015.

Photo shows Dung biking his way in Viet Nam to create awareness and tap young people's support in achieving the MDGs.

From: United Nations Volunteers Viet Nam