A charity founded by artists and entrepreneurs plans to fund heart surgery for 1,500 poor children, build 50 homes for flood victims and help children and teachers in remote areas attend school this year.

The charity will fulfill it aims by spreading a message of love, understanding and happiness through several programmes that will also raise funds, including a TV talk show, a "behind the scenes" TV show featuring famous people, an outreach programme for high schools and a short-film-making contest.

Called Understanding the Heart, the charity will also raise funds by selling copies of a book released last year that carries its name. The book tells 50 moving daily-life stories of people struggling against adversity.

They will spread the message the book among many more youth and their parents, and mobilise money to fund heart surgeries for around 1,500 poor children this year, the charity's representatives said on March 29, launching their programme for the second year.

Tran Huu Tam, permanent deputy chairman of the Sponsoring Association for Poor Patients, said last year the organisation had collaborated with Heart Beat Vietnam run by the VinaCapital Foundation to carry out heart surgeries for 100 children.

The organisation expects to support 1,500 such surgeries this year, he said.

They plan to sell 100,000 copies of the book by the end of this year and use the proceeds for the free heart surgeries, said actor Pham Gia Chi Bao, director of the programme.

The charity will also continue to co-ordinate with Dat Trading JSC and VTC Intecom to produce the Ngau Hung Cung Sao (Sudden Inspiration with Star) TV programme that will have stars and their families talk about life behind the scenes.

During the programme, the audience will be asked to send the message "TT" to 1404 to make their donations. Each message donates 8,000 VND to the charity.

"After beginning in February, we have, as of March 25, received more than 80,000 messages, raising 642 million VND (32,000 USD)," said Mai Quyen Linh, actor and MC of the programme.

"We expect to raise 8 billion VND (about 400,000 USD) for the fund by the end of this year," Linh added.

The charity has also coordinated with the Vietnam Data Communication Company and the video advertising platform and video ad network YuMe to carry out a campaign named Trieu Loi Yeu Thuong (Million Words of Love), calling on the public to access website www.vnn.vn/hieuvetraitim from May to the end of December and send messages to disadvantaged Vietnamese children.

"Each message means you donate 300 VND for the fund," Bao said.

A 52 episode talk show series, also called Understanding the Heart, will be broadcast on StyleTV every Saturday night, helping both young people and their parents learn the value of life through moving and inspiring true-life stories, he added.

Yet another programme called Understanding the Heart, to Live in Love and Happiness will be organised at six high schools in the provinces of Khanh Hoa, Ha Tinh, Kien Giang, An Giang, Long An and Binh Dinh.

"The programme is expected to help pupils recognise and appreciate what they have and to live happily," Bao said.

To spread the message of "love and happiness" further, a short-film-making contest will invite interested youth to script and shoot films based on the 50 stories carried in the book Understanding the Heart.

The charity will collaborate with the Duong Minh Foreign Language School to build 50 houses for people in the flood-stricken regions in Quang Binh, Ha Tinh and several provinces in the Mekong Delta.

It also plans to create "essential conditions" for 500 pupils and 200 teachers in remote and mountainous areas to go to school, Bao said. /.