Residents of Phuoc Loc Commune in Nha Be District have benefited from a 'red weekend', a programme initiated by the city's Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, calling on the city's youngsters to donate labour for needy communes.
The commune is listed as one of the most needy outskirts, just 20km from the city centre.More than 300 young staff from all sectors in the city took their weekends to help local residents improve living conditions in a wide range of areas including health.
For the first time the commune's kids had their teeth checked by dentists from the city's Odonto-Stomatology and Maxillo-Facial Hospital.
Bui Thi Cuc, a grade two student of Phuoc Loc Primary School, went to the visiting dentist to take her decayed tooth out.
"I was afraid of having my teeth pulled by my mom at home because in the past we did it without anaesthetic," Cuc said.
"The dentist carried out the work smoothly and also gave me tips on how to clean my teeth carefully and not to eat candies at night," she added.
Phuoc Loc residents earn their living mainly from livestock, fish and shrimp.
The last outbreak of the bird flu caused local farmers to considering shifting their livestock away from chickens to something more stable.
"Agricultural engineers from Dong Hiep pork processing factory in HCM City have arrived to bring new hope to making profits from pig breeding for residents," said Huynh Van Nhanh chairman of Phuoc Loc People's Committee.
The factory staff opened a day-long training course on advanced techniques in animal husbandry, drawing great attention from local farmers.
Nguyen Xuan Tu, known as an experienced pig breeder in the commune claimed course attendance provided him with many better alternatives to local rearing methods.
Now local farmers are aware of the benefits of raising pigs in hygienic conditions, with regualr vaccinations and quality mash feed.
Engineers visited every household to help farmers tackle their difficulties in building pens for their pigs, Ngo Ky Quoi, a local farmer said.
Vu Huynh Nhan, a fisheries technician from Viet Long Fishery Co Ltd said it took two days to assist farmers with the latest fisheries techniques as well as digging breeding ponds of recommended size.
In addition to 4,000 young tilapia (perch) fish funded by Viet Long Fishery Co for farmers, the company also offered technicians to make regular tours to the commune to help farmers cope with new and emerging challenges. Workers from Construction Corporation No 4 spared no efforts to complete construction of the bridge over Sau Lung canal.
Tran Van Be, a local resident said people living along the banks of Sau Lung canal have difficulty travelling by boat during the rainy season.
Travelling on the water was not safe enough to take the commune's kids to school. Without a bridge over the canal, numerous students had to miss school during prolonged periods of rain.
Now the nights at Phuoc Loc have been lit up thanks to enthusiastic workers form Tan Thuan Electricity Company. They worked around the clock for two straight days to link all households in the commune to the national power grid.
Before the company came to the area, a lot of households had to source electricity from a neighbouring commune, at a higher cost than the level set by the city's electricity department.
Chairman Nhanh said under the programme, youngsters would only spend two days working in the community but in fact they often donated even more days of labour. Through the youth union's labour donation, they have injected new life into Phuoc Loc Commune.
VNCG-VDC1 - (05/04/2004)