“Khong (Zero) Dong” shop offers free goods to people in need

An Giang (VNA) - A Khong (Zero) Dong
shop that offers donated clothing and household appliances, most of them new
and some of them secondhand, is seeing a brisk business in the Mekong Delta
province of An Giang. 

The shop was launched by Tri Ton district’s sponsoring
association for people with disabilities, orphans and poor patients, whose aim
is to reduce poverty in a sustainable manner.

Open daily, the shop is located in Nui To commune
at the Nguyen Trai -Nam Ky Khoi Nghia junction.

The association is active in the national
programme to build “new rural areas” and “civilised urban areas”.

Pham Tan Duc, deputy chairman of the
association, said the idea for the shop came from Men Pholly, secretary of the
district’s Party Committee.

All donations are from individuals and
charitable organisations both inside and outside the district.

The shop has collected about seven tonnes
of clothes and more than 40 million VND (1,760 USD) in cash
donations since its opening on February 15.

Each customer is allowed no more than four items
of clothing per visit, but can return a few weeks later to select

For other items such as televisions, bicycles,
washing machines, electric fans and gas stoves, people in need must register
with the shop’s managers, who give priority to the poorest.

Volunteers deliver the items to people’s homes
and help set up TVs or other devices.

The shop’s management board and its many
volunteers operate the shop. After receiving the donations, volunteers clean
and arrange the goods in separate areas at the shop.

About 20-30 people visit the shop daily to
choose items of clothing.

Le Van Luong, 63, a local resident, said: “The
shop has many essential items and most of them seem new. Some of the clothes
are old, but they bring more spiritual value than material value.”

To maintain long-term operations, Duc said he
researched various donation models that offer free clothing and other goods.

“We plan to use trucks to transport goods, sort
of like a mini shop, that will go through the district two to three
times a week to deliver donated items to people in need,” he said.

He said he hoped the shop would receive support
from donors nationwide.

An Giang province has many ethnic groups,
including Hoa, Khmer and Cham, who follow different religions such as Buddhism,
Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Catholicism and Protestantism.

According to the latest figures from the
Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, the province in 2015 had 45,789
poor households, or 8.45 per cent of the population.

Tri Ton district had 7,315 poor households, the
highest number of any district.

The province, which targets reducing the
household poverty rate by 1-1.5 per cent this year, and hopes to also limit
relapses into poverty.-VNA

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