Think big, act small

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A forum initiated by Thanh Nien last week has received an overwhelming number of responses and stories from readers about the importance of doing small things that make a big change.

Vang Seo Sin, 22, wanted to bring change to his village in Yen Minh District in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. He began with what he had at hand. He started raising pigs and growing cassava.

With a rice husking machine, 1.7 hectares of cassava, and about US$3,000 in cash, Sin started expanding the growing area of cassava, went on to open a pig farm and gradually became the head of a local cooperative.

The young entrepreneur said his business was based on a simple model: use the cassava and leftovers from the rice husking process to feed the pigs.

After saving enough funds, Sin hired locals to work on exploiting construction materials to serve many local state-funded poverty reduction and construction projects.

For countries such as Vietnam to grasp the potential of globalization and integration, it is critical to educate youngsters about the need to start making change at their local level, says assistant professor Vu Minh Khuong of National University of Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

That vision for change does not come from competitions and general slogans, he said. It comes from each young person's desire to act small at the local level.

Luu Phuc Mau, founder of the website dedicated to promote products made by people with disabilities, said: "For disabled people like us, it's important that we don't always think about ourselves as those with disabilities," he said. "We have to act. We have to help ourselves and help others who are also unfortunate to help themselves."

To contribute ideas or comments about the Thanh Nien forum "Think big, act small", write to

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