Thanh Nien newspaper and sponsor Nestlé Vietnam continued their joint charity mission by giving 1,000 gift sets to poor students in the northern provinces of Cao Bang and Ha Giang January 4-7.
Each set, worth around VND200,000 (US$9.4) on average, included sweaters, milk and notebooks.
They were given to students from remote elementary schools and kindergartens in Cao Bang's Thong Nong District and Ha Giang's Meo Vac District.
Many students at Luong Thong Commune elementary school and Hong Quan kindergarten in Thong Nong arrived to receive the gifts wearing only sandals and thin clothes when it was about 10 degrees Centigrade.
Ly Van Truong, a fourth-grade student, smiled brightly as he put on his new sweater in the schoolyard immediately after receiving it.
In Meo Vac's Sung Tra Commune, the chilling cold and fog did not stop hundreds of students, many of whom had to travel for more than 10 km through the forest, from gathering at Sung Tra elementary school in the commune's center early on Monday morning, waiting for hours to receive the presents.
Most of them were shivering in thin clothes, while others wore worn or ragged sweaters. Their feet, hands and faces were chapped and dirty.
Va Mi Sinh, 10, a fifth grade student from Sung Tra elementary school, said it had been a long time since he got a new jacket.
Sinh said his mother was sold to China when he was born and remains missing. His father has worked abroad since he was two.
Sung Mi Gia, deputy chairman of the Sung Tra People's Committee, said most local children have extremely difficult lives and do not have enough warm clothes for the harsh winter.
"We appreciated that Thanh Nien newspaper brought gifts to our kids," he said.
During their trip, Thanh Nien and Nestlé Vietnam also granted 60 scholarships, worth VND5 million each, to children of border guard soldiers in the two provinces, as well as students in remote schools in Sung Tra.
Chung Duc Thien, 10, the son of Captain Chung Van Thanh, a border guard at the Coc Bang station in Cao Bang, said: "I will use the money to pay school fees and buy books.
"I promise I will study well to please my parents," Thien said. His father is often away from home as his job requires and his mother, who has thyroid gland cancer, takes care of him when his father is away.
The families of two poor soldiers also received gifts of VND5 million in cash each.
Colonel Tran Ngoc Thanh, deputy commissar of Cao Bang Border Guard Department, said it was the first time the children of local border guards had received that much money.
He said the money will not only help them to cover their studies, but also encourage their fathers in carrying out their duties.
Last month, Thanh Nien also teamed up with Nestlé Vietnam to give out sweaters, milk, books, notebooks and scholarships to poor students in the central provinces of Kon Tum, Quang Nam and Thua Thien-Hue.
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