Students bring holiday warmth to kidney patients

There’s a Tet (Vietnamese Lunar New Year) atmosphere in the air in Hanoi at the moment with shops crowded with customers and loads of peach blossoms and kumquat trees on the streets.

students bring holiday warmth to kidney patients hinh 0
Am Concert - Le Chauffage drew almost 700 people and helped to raise a total of 250 million VND from ticket sales and donors (Photo courtesy of Am project)

Yet this time of the year can be painful for patients who are stuck in hospitals and can’t return to their hometowns to celebrate Tet with their families.

To ease their pain, a group of high school students who run a charitable project named ‘Am’ (Warmth) hosted a classical music concert to raise funds for kidney dialysis patients in Hanoi.

“Tet is very near and we hope that our small gifts will warm their hearts,” said Pham Van Anh, founder of the project.

Unlike most students who are now enjoying the thought of having a week off from school for Tet, the group is rushing to prepare gifts for more than 120 kidney patients.

‘Am’ hosted a concert named Am Concert - Le Chauffage featuring the young artists pianist Tran Le Bao Quyen who is pursuing professional piano performance major in Germany and her younger brother violinist Tran Le Quang Tien on January 5.

The concert featured a solo piano performance and a duo and attracted almost 700 people, helping to raise a total of 250 million VND (10,800 USD) from both ticket sales and donors.

“Through the concert, we wanted to convey a message of love and giving to the community as well as raise awareness about charitable activities,” said Van Anh.

“Classical music may have a limited audience but we believe the music and passionate spirit of the artists inspire audiences. We really appreciate the devotion and support from local audiences,” she said.

Inspired by charitable trips with her mother, Van Anh founded the project in October last year. “My mother is an inspiration and a big motivation for me,” she said.

The 10th grader’s mother is passionate about charitable activities. She has taken Van Anh with her on trips to pagodas where orphaned kids are raised and cared for to cook for them, as well as to the Children’s Hospital to deliver gifts to kids for the last 10 years.

“I am fortunate that I’ve had the chance to accompany my mother to charitable events since I was small. This helps to nurture a great sense of compassion in me. Last year was when I realised that I had the enthusiasm, capabilities and support from my family and friends, and I was able to start a charitable project by myself,” said Van Anh.

In November last year, the project held a music performance and sold fruit and cakes to raise funds on the pedestrian area near Hoan Kiem Lake.

More than 20 members of the project, most of whom are from specialised high schools in Hanoi, have shown they not only perform well at school but are also socially active and have warm hearts.

This first event they raised 8 million VND (340 USD). At first the students planned to use the money to buy moon cakes for a community of kidney dialysis patients living on Le Thanh Nghi Street, but then a doctor from Bach Mai Hospital who is related to one of the volunteers said that kidney patients should avoid sugar and starchy food. They decided to change to oil, which is an ‘essential for every family’.

The project operates like a professional non-profit organisation with different specialised sections: finance, human resources, content, logistics, media/design and communications – all done by 63 high school students from around Hanoi.

Besides hosting events to raise funds, they make use of their Facebook fanpage, using it as a platform for communications. Every week, well-written stories about cancer patients, orphaned kids or about compassion which go with eye-catching graphic design and photos are posted on the fanpage to ‘raise awareness about charitable deeds for the younger generation’.

VNS/VNA