Two Vietnamese men, an entrepreneur and a doctor, have won the Outstanding Young Leader of Asia award in 2021 by the Asian Youth Council (AYC) for their significant contributions to the community.
They are Director of PHGSmart Home Company Hoang Tuan Anh and Dr. Tran Anh Tu from the Infectious Disease Control Department under the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.
Hoang Tuan Anh is known for his rice-dispensing machine (Rice ATM) initiative, which is regarded as an effective solution to support people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
An old man receives rice from one of the "Rice ATMs" in HCMC. Photo: Tuan Anh
“My first machine in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)’s densely-populated Tan Phu District gave out five tons of rice in the first two days of operation. So far, all the machines nationwide have dispensed around 3,000 tons of rice across the country,” Tuan Anh told The Hanoi Times.
“I refer to this machine as a rice ATM because people can withdraw rice from it and be assured that there are still good people out there who want to lend them a helping hand,” Tuan Anh said.
Tuan Anh’s rice ATM in HCMC inspired similar machines to be set up in Hanoi, Thua Thien-Hue Province, and Danang City. The initiative made headlines in international media such as Reuters and CNN.
A woman receives face masks from Huynh Tuan Anh’s "face mask ATM" in Tan Phu District, HCMC. Photo: Quang Dinh
Last August, a "face mask ATM", also an initiative launched by Tuan Anh, started providing citizens in HCMC with free masks in order to encourage people’s compliance with safety measures amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Rather than cash, Tuan Anh’s homemade ATM doles out face masks for those in need. He has raised over 10,000 face masks through donations and is expecting to receive more support from the community.
His latest initiative, launched in early August 2021, was an Oxygen ATM. All Tuan Anh’s initiatives have contributed significantly to treating Covid-19 patients.
Hoang Tuan Anh, CEO of PHGSmarthome Company, with oxygen tanks that will be provided for Covid-19 patients. Photo: Tuan Anh
The initiative “Oxygen ATM” establishes exchanging booths to provide free oxygen tanks at home for Covid-19 patients.
“The idea of establishing oxygen canister exchange booths flashed to my mind after I saw Covid-19 patients quarantined at home struggling to get new canister when they ran out of oxygen. While tech-based services were limited, oxygen centers across the city had scarce supply,” Tuan Anh told The Hanoi Times.
“Covid-19 patients in need of oxygen can contact the hotline (+84) 796 55 5564. Volunteers will bring filled oxygen tanks to their doors by motorbike. We will implement 24 Oxygen ATMs,” he added.
Volunteers are delivering oxygen tanks to Covid-19 patients. Photo: Tuan Anh
Tuan Anh noted that the project needed extra support from businesses, donors, and suppliers to provide assistance to patients in need of oxygen.
Last year, he won many noble titles such as the “Typical young citizen of Ho Chi Minh City", and the "Outstanding Vietnamese Young Face".
There are many Vietnamese young people like Tuan Anh, who offer themselves to charitable deeds amid the pandemic. Dr. Tran Anh Tu working at the Infectious Disease Control Department under the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology is such a person.
Dr. Tu has also won the Outstanding Young Leaders of Asia 2021 award. He has directly participated in a wide range of Covid-19 prevention and control activities in localities nationwide.
Dr. Tu, 32, is one of the youngest members of a special team of the National Steering Committee on Covid-19 Prevention and Control. He has been among the frontline workers heading to Covid-19 hot spots like Son Loi Commune in Vinh Phuc Province, Ha Loi Hamlet in Hanoi, Da Nang City, and Hai Duong Province.
Dr. Tran Anh Tu (right) and his colleague during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Vietnam last year. Photo: The Ministry of Health
He also harnessed his knowledge of information technology to offer technical improvement initiatives for raising professional efficiency at grassroots-level medical facilities, contributing to promoting the efficiency of pandemic prevention and control.
Dr. Tu received the Certificate of Merit from the Minister of Science and Technology, and won the title of "Outstanding young Vietnamese doctor”.
“The more experience I have and the more works I have fulfilled, the more I love my job. Challenges at work help young people to grow,” Tu told The Hanoi Times.
Tu has been named among ten exemplary people of Vietnamese youth in 2020 as a role model in labor and production thanks to his active participation in the Covid-19 fight.
"The pandemic prevention and control is the collective work of many people. I only receive the award which recognizes on their behalf,” Dr. Tu said.
The Outstanding Young Leader of Asia 2021 award is launched by AYC which was formed in August 1972 to promote solidarity and cooperation among young people in Asia. The award aims to honor outstanding and typical young people in the region that have made contributions to society, the community, and their countries.