In Vietnam, ‘Rice ATMs’ provide free rice to people in need

A woman fills a plastic bag with rice from a 24/7 automatic rice dispensing machine in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam. Image Source: Reuters

The South East Asian country of Vietnam has imposed strict social distancing rules on its citizens to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite having only about 200 cases and no deaths, the government has been proactive in ensuring that the virus does not spread.

However, this has affected the economy of Vietnam with many small and medium businesses in the nation shut down and thousands of people laid off work.

In these tough times, the entrepreneurs and businessmen in Vietnam have come up with a novel idea to help the less priviledged.

Hoang Tuan Anh, a businessman from Ho Chi Minh City, has come up with the idea of rice ATMs in various parts of the nation. These 24*7 automatic dispensing machine provide free rice or the vulnerable sections of the society that include those that are out of work.

Apart from Ho Chi Minh City, many such ATMs will be set up in the bigger cities of Vietnam such as Hanoi and Danang.

These machines distribute 1.5 kgs of rice from a small silo to the workers.

“I refer to this machine as a ‘rice ATM’ because people can withdraw rice from it, assured that there are still good people out there who want to give them a second chance,” Hoang Tuan Anh said.

“This rice ATM has been helpful. With this one bag of rice, we can have enough for one day,” said Nguyen Thi Ly, a 34-year-old mother of three children whose husband has lost her job. “Now, we only need other food. Our neighbours sometimes gave us some leftover food, or we have instant noodles.”

In these tough times, if all of us do our bit for the downtrodden and the most vulnerable sections of the society, we will overcome this global pandemic. Do you agree? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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