The Nha Bao va Cong Luan (Journalist and Public Opinion) Newspaper interviewed Dan Tri/DTiNews' editor-in-chief, Pham Huy Hoan, about the charity funds he has successfully set up at his newspapers on the occasion of the 91st anniversary of Vietnam's Revolutionary Press Day on June 21.
Dan Tri's editor-in-chief Pham Huy Hoan
When you were still editor-in-chief of Lao Dong Newspaper, the Golden Heart Fund was your brand and when you become the editor-in-chief of Dan Tri Newspaper, the Compassionate Hearts Charity Fund again was your brand. Why are you so enthusiastic with charity works?
It was lucky that I had worked with people who led a simple lifestyle and were very sincere. They were the first people that gave me the idea when I was working at Lao Dong Newspaper and the first charitable drive when we raised funds was to help the victims of natural disasters in the Mekong Delta. They gave me strength to create the humanitarian columns in the Lao Dong and Dan Tri newspapers and helped me understand the meaning of life in the value of those contributions.
I always love a saying of Late President Ho Chi Minh about social responsible of the media: With the same blank page and black ink, they can write ultimatums or love letters. Those love letters come straight from the reporters' hearts so that they can spread compassion to everyone.
Maybe it's some kind of fate with the media industry that led you to charity work. If it's another field, probably it wouldn’t be such a major thing?
You can say that. With over 40 years in journalism and 20 years as the editor-in-chief of both Lao Dong and Dan Tri newspapers and with lots of support from the colleagues, I can help disadvantaged people and helping those people via sections in the newspaper brings me happiness.
It's also the efforts of all reporters who discover people in need and, with all their hearts, make readers sympathise with them. To quote Victor Hugo, under heaven there is but one thing we ought to bow to-genius; and only one thing before which we ought to kneel - goodness.
How is the goodness in the charity section realised?
Our charity section has helped spreading compassion for the past 12 years. There are ill people struggling to live in a busy city, rundown classrooms and students who dangerously cross river to go to school daily in mountainous areas. We publish one to two love letters in this section each day and one page on the weekly newspaper. It's also a way to show a journalist's social responsibility. You can say that social activities have played important role in building Dan Tri's image.
The fund and the section are successful not only because of the stories but more importantly, it's because of the love from readers, who seem to put absolute trust into you?
That reminds me of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who said, “You make a living by what you get, but you make a life by what you give“. That's a nice philosophy that luckily I have worked with daily at Dan Tri. It's the silent donators who light up the fire to warm all hearts.
Many readers commented that they trust us because our principle is every dime we receive will be transferred to whom in need. We give reports publicly and do not deduct the fund for its operation or management. The average monthly donation we receive for all cases is VND3bn (USD136,000). Asides from donating to help disadvantaged people, readers also donated to build classrooms and bridges for poor students and support fishermen.
I heard that you have named many babies, what is the story?
It's also a big joy in my career. I have the chance to name more than ten abandoned new-born babies. Reporters find many abandoned babies in this line of work. Some children were left by a dumping ground, in front of a pagoda or sent to the river on make-shift raft. Those children are being raised at social houses or at pagodas and we often visit them.
We were asked to give them names and, along with the readers, help to raise the children. The first child was abandoned at Children's Hospital 2 in HCM City and was named Nhan Ai (Compassion). And so the following names are Nhan Duc (Virtue), Nhan Hau (Kindness) and so on. Watching them grow up year by year really shows me the beauty in all gestures and kindness of our readers who are still supporting those children to have the best living environment.