Members of a club named Câu Lạc Bộ Chuyến Xe Nghĩa Tình Chữ Thập Đỏ, run by the Vietnam Red Cross Society chapter at Quang Trung College in HCM City, transport a three-day-old baby to his relatives in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk after the parents tested positive for COVID-19. Photo courtesy of the club
HCM CITY — As someone who often takes part in many charitable activities, Nguyễn Đình Bá, chairman of the Vietnam Red Cross Society chapter at Quang Trung College in HCM City, wanted to do something to help others during the fourth COVID-19 wave this summer.
“At that time, I saw that the city needed vehicles to transport food, medical equipment and other necessities donated by organisations, companies, religious establishments and charity kitchens,” Bá, vice rector of Quang Trung College, said.
Bá asked his friends, who are mostly entrepreneurs and teachers, and who have cars and pickup trucks, to set up a team to assist the city’s Vietnam Red Cross Society.
The team named its club ‘Câu Lạc Bộ Chuyến Xe Nghĩa Tình Chữ Thập Đỏ’ run by Vietnam Red Cross Society chapter at Quang Trung College.
“Legally, the club’s members who wear the red uniform of Vietnam Red Cross Society were able to travel in their vehicles with the logo in the city and between provinces, especially in the period of strict social distancing,” Bá said.
In August, when the club was launched, its members transported food, vegetables and other necessities to locked-down areas. They also transported medical equipment to hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
“The club became more popular and many people contacted me to ask for help. We also transported pregnant women and newborn babies so they could return to their hometowns,” Bá said.
“I was told that one three-day-old baby needed to be taken to his relatives in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Lắk because his parents had contracted COVID-19,” he added.
After hearing this, the club’s members took COVID-19 tests to ensure safety. Bá was in charge of administrative and logistical procedures to get permission to travel from the city to the province because there were many checkpoints on the way.
After the 500-kilometre trip, the baby was brought to his relatives safely.
Nguyễn Đình Bá, who set up a club named Câu Lạc Bộ Chuyến Xe Nghĩa Tình Chữ Thập Đỏ in HCM City, helps a man from the Mekong Delta province of Đồng Tháp pick up his newborn from Từ Dũ Hospital during the period of strict social distancing in HCM City. Photo courtesy of the club
Having heard about the club’s charity activities, a man from the Mekong Delta province of Đồng Tháp contacted Bá to ask for transport of his five-day-old baby from Từ Dũ Obstetrics Hospital in the city. His wife, who had contracted COVID-19, had to be quarantined.
“I took him to Từ Dũ Hospital to pick up his baby and then to go to his friend in Bình Tân District,” he said. “It was the first time that I held a newborn who was not a relative in my arms. The father’s happiness was mine also.”
“We were ready to help, especially in difficult circumstance,” he added.
The club’s members have also helped transport pregnant women to return to southern Bình Dương and Đồng Nai provinces.
One pregnant woman working in Bình Dương whose husband had died due to COVID-19 was near her delivery date. She and her six-year-old daughter needed to be transported to her hometown in Đồng Tháp Province. The club’s members helped her to return to her hometown safely.
Từ Dũ Hospital’s staff also asked the club to transport donated bags of breast-milk from mothers in the Mekong Delta province of Long An. The hospital was lacking breast milk at the time for premature babies.
Lệ Thu, one of the club’s members, who is a teacher, said she did the volunteer activities “out of love”. During transport, police and agencies at checkpoints on the way created favourable conditions for her.
The club also worked with Hùng Vương Hospital to help pregnant women with financial difficulties return to their hometowns after delivering their babies.
In addition, the club at times picked up relatives of pregnant women who had contracted COVID-19 and took them back to their hometowns with the newborn babies.
The club’s members prepare to transport a pregnant woman back to her hometown in Đồng Tháp Provinve. She was working in Bình Dương province when her husband died due to COVID-19. Photo courtesy of the club
“This shows the love between people. The club’s vehicles are filled with warmth and love. Transporting children to their relatives is very important,” Bá added.
The club also helped foreigners who had faced difficulties caused by the pandemic in the city and other provinces.
The Vietnam Red Cross Society in the city has honoured the club members as “unsung heroes” and called them ” the flowers of charitable activities” for their contributions to the city’s COVID-19 prevention and control programme. — VNS