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A girl with a volunteer heart
24 May 2004

When Pham Hong Nhung was in secondary school, her simple wish was to take part in the activities organised by her local youth union. She wanted to contribute her youthful energy and enthusiasm to social activities.

Nhung’s wish came true when the Ha Long Youth Union launched a campaign in response to the national volunteer programme.

At first, this little girl was somewhat shy, but later on, she became more confident thanks to her part in the union. Nhung and other members in her district mobilised neighbours to join in activities, such as street cleaning to preserve Ha Long’s environment.

Last October, Nhung and her local youth union held a general knowledge quiz about mangrove forest for teenagers in her district. She attended a number of training courses on the protection of Ha Long’s environment and cultural heritage, with the aim of raising public awareness to preserve the cultural heritage site.

Nhung has recently come back from a training course on planting mangroves held in Ha Phong commune. This activity is part of the project "Youth volunteers in cultural heritage preservation" run by UNESCO, the Vietnam Youth Union and United Nations Volunteers (UNV).

Talking about these training courses, Nhung said, "Training makes me more aware of the environmental and economic significance of Ha Long’s mangroves. I think I can help preserve this heritage site by encouraging others to join in such activities. After the class, I will transfer the knowledge to other youth union members, then we will formulate a plan to educate the local community about the importance of mangrove forests."

When asked about her thoughts on volunteerism among Vietnamese youth, Nhung said, "People often say volunteering is hard, but I am happy doing it. I have the chance to meet with different people and take part in different activities. Another important thing is that I have encouraged other locals to do good things, helping them to realise that Ha Long is the pride of not only Quang Ninh local people, but also of all Vietnamese."

Though Nhung has also found a job now, she has managed not to miss any activities. She receives great support from her employers. Nhung said she would never tire of volunteering as she believes she must do something meaningful, to her best ability to preserve the cultural and natural values of Ha Long, a world heritage site.

This is just one of many local volunteers actively engaged in preserving Ha Long’s environment and cultural heritage that VOVNews has reported on. Enthusiasm and volunteerism have well combined to make them the driving force behind the campaign to preserve the local environment.