The 2014 Youth Volunteer Year proved to be a success, with a series of activities held across Vietnam demonstrating the youth’s dynamism in campaigns for community interests.

Voluntary activities towards the country’s seas and islands were a highlight of the year and were warmly received by youth nationwide, especially amidst China’s illegal placement of an oil rig in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone and continental shelf from May to July of last year.

A programme run by the Central Committee of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union (HCYU) and the Naval High Command mobilised more than 2 billion VND (about 95,240 USD) in donations for residents and soldiers on the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.

Meanwhile, the Central Committee of the Vietnam Students’ Association built eight flag poles on islands using money donated by undergraduate students across the country. It also called upon businesses to give lifebuoys and 900 national flags to residents in Phu Quoc Island, offered free check-ups to Tho Chu islanders, and presented gifts to children on the islands.

The youth visited and encouraged residents and soldiers on the Truong Sa archipelago as well as the families of coast guard servicemen and fishery resource surveillance forces performing their duties at sea. A fund to support fishermen working around Hoang Sa (Paracel) was also established.

In 2014, youth participation fuelled progress on the national new-style rural area building programme, a Government-launched initiative to improve and develop Vietnam’s rural areas since 2011.

During the summer volunteer campaign, youth teams were sent to disadvantaged localities in the northwest, Central Highlands, and southwest regions where they worked together to build infrastructure facilities including irrigation systems, roads, hygienic toilets, cultural centres, and playing grounds.

Volunteers advised rural residents about profitable production models, animal and crop farming techniques, and technology transfer while disseminating information on laws and encouraging the young to practice healthy cultural activities.

Also in 2014, a wide range of traffic safety-themed activities were conducted by HCYU chapters to raise awareness of traffic safety models; the Hanoi chapter established 30 volunteer teams who assisted police in ensuring traffic safety at congestion sites and accident hotbeds and also organised traffic law and skill courses for local residents.

Such efforts greatly contributed to the 4 percent decrease in the number of fatalities and a 13.8 percent reduction in accidents in 2014.-VNA