Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

August 21, 2023 | 16:27
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The Swing for the Kids charity golf tournament this year will see another round of collaboration between sponsors, businesses, and benefactors, all in the name of helping disadvantaged young people.
Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour
Almost 20,000 scholarships have been gifted over the past 17 years, with more awarded this year

On a hopefully beautiful day in October, the organising board of the Swing for the Kids golf tournament will prepare for its 16th event with the same excitement as the first season.

Former Minister of Planning and Investment Vo Hong Phuc, chairman of the event’s fund, is proud of the longevity of the tournament during the past 17 years.

“There are many special reasons to talk about the tournament. This is the longest-running amateur charity golf match in Vietnam,” Phuc said.

Back in 2007, golf had a fairly unremarkable impact in Vietnam, Phuc said at the pre-event press conference last week.

“But this is a competition that endures because there are many unchanged things for nearly the past 20 years, which combine the chairman of the fund, familiar sponsors, benefactors, and reporters, many of who have accompanied the organising board from the beginning to spread human values to disadvantaged people,” Phuc added.

Now, golf is a favourite sport for many people. As a result, the organising board has made consistent efforts to explore new avenues.

For example, this year, the head of the event’s organising board has also learned to play golf, just to participate in the tournament.

Looking back over the past 17 years, the annual charity event from Vietnam Investment Review has received enthusiastic support from close benefactors, including co-organisers BRG Group and SeABank.

Other familiar sponsors include Samsung Electronics Vietnam, Vingroup, Kinderworld Education, Sun Group, BRG Group’s Bob Parsons, and Vietnam Beverage, among others.

Every year, the tournament also welcomes many new sponsors. In this year event, for the first time Golf Group joins as Hole-in-One sponsor while Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han also sponsors her Ngoc Han ao dai as prizes to best golfers at the tournament

In addition, the tournament welcomes investors, entrepreneurs, and representatives of international and domestic organisations and diplomatic agencies, to show their support for disadvantaged students in remote and flood-stricken areas.

The organising board highly appreciates the enthusiasm and kindness of businesses and sponsors to provide life-changing scholarships to talented but disadvantaged students.

VIR editor-in-chief Le Trong Minh said, “In difficult periods, we have been inevitably concerned about the withdrawal of sponsors or the decrease in funding. However, the business community and those with compassionate hearts have continued to stand with us, with their full and unwavering support.”

Even during the recent pandemic restrictions, the organising board proactively downsized the tournament to accommodate fewer golfers to ensure safety. Although the tournament was smaller in scale, the enthusiasm of businesses and sponsors to provide life-changing scholarships in fact increased against the previous season.

To date, the event has raised over $850,000 and handed out almost 20,000 scholarships to outstanding young students across the country in need of financial support. It has also facilitated upgrades to learning facilities in 40 cities and provinces up and down the country.

“After each tournament season, the organising board reports not only an increase in the scale of the funding but also the spread of the coverage,” Minh explained.

“This tournament has a wide influence on society and is a source of inspiration for many other charity golfing events,” he added.

Support methods have also been more flexible in recent times. For example, in 2020, the tournament was held after unprecedented storms swept through locations such as Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Binh. To react to these natural disasters, the organising board reserved VND1 billion ($43,500) from that year’s fund for students in the region.

Mark Reeves - Golf course development director, BRG Group

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

I am so happy to contribute to this event and see the students get our support.

Of course, all of these sponsors are contributing to the tournament, raising funds, and sending it to students, who need a lot of help.

It is great that we all join together to do good things, and I am happy to see leaders of major companies in the country gathering for the event.

For this meaningful fund, BRG Group will commit to giving sponsorship every year.

Vietnam is one of the most attractive places to come and play golf. Numerous world-class hotels and golf courses are already available here. I am sure that Vietnam is already considered probably the number one golf tourism destination now in Southeast Asia.

Le Khac Hiep - Vice chairman, Vingroup

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

We are honoured and proud to have accompanied Swing for the Kids from its first days with an unchanged donation level of VND500 million ($21,000) and still consistently commit to going with the event for a long time.

I believe that when organising such an annual tournament, the only purpose is to raise as much money as possible to hand over to impoverished students. The Swing for the Kids golf tournament and schoolarship fund share the same ideas as our Thien Tam Fund, which we give directly to students in remote, mountainous areas.

We also express solidarity with the tournament as the organising board’s devotion and transparency.

Normally, the organising board of other charity funds often deduct approximately 10 per cent of the donation as the managing fee, for example as travelling fees for scholarship award trips. However, as this situation does not occur here, VIR can donate even more money to the fund.

Thus, Vingroup, golfers, and sponsors can all be assured that their kind-hearted contributions will arrive at the destinations that need them.

Pham Minh Thu - General manager Pegasus International College Vietnam

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

This is the 10th year that we have been a gold sponsor for this event, as well as providing assistance to students related to training in the hotel and restaurant industry, as a foundation for them to start working after graduation.

Besides offering funds, we help train skills and give advice to students in terms of jobs in the future. This summer, we have already organised 10 such training courses.

Thanks to VIR, we can easily approach more students that need help, and give them a hand to easily start a job. We are proud to collaborate with VIR to give students both financial support and working skills and knowledge, so they can find job opportunities easily. We will also work with various partners to open up more opportunities for students.

Despite difficulties in the economy and business, we still pledge to maintain our contribution and scholarships, and want to deliver even more to students.

Tran Kim Nga - Chief executive Vietnam Beverage

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

Over past years, we have heard about the impact that the VIR Swing for the Kids tournament has had on poor but excellent students in the country, while also helping to upgrade numerous training and education facilities in cities and provinces nationwide. For these reasons, we highly appreciate this event.

I had an opportunity to take part in charity scholarship award trips to mountainous and remote areas, and we felt that this is a truly philanthropic activity, and neither the organisers nor the sponsors care about benefits or reputation.

Along with thoughtful organisation, we highly appreciate the organising board’s effort to study carefully the difficult situations in remote areas. The transparency in the usage of charity money makes us fully feel secure that the sponsors’ total donations are used for the right purpose.

In sponsoring the golf tournament, we do not have any special expectations. We only wish to contribute to enlarging the charity arm to help disadvantaged children achieve their dreams of studying further.

Dang Thi Ngoc Han - Ao dai designer, Miss Vietnam 2010

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

I just joined the tournament for a few years ago but I can see its support for students who are in difficulties or in far-reaching areas. I have taken part in many charity activities and tournaments, but Swing for the Kids is one of the most meaningful.

I cannot provide support as much as large corporations, but I will contribute as much as possible. This year, in order to promote the traditional ao dai dress of Vietnam, I will present dresses made by myself to golfers that win in all categories. We can offer traditional attire for men and women, or for businesspeople to give to their loved ones. I hope that the traditional dress will become more popular in every business activity as a result.

Moreover, I will provide pure water to the event in October, a product of my company. I vow to accompany Swing for the Kids for the long term.

Chao Lo May - Student, Academy of Policy and Development

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

This is the second time I have received a scholarship from VIR. Last year, I sent half of the amount to my parents, and the remainder was spent on my living expenses. This time, I will spend it on an English course because I need a foreign language certificate before graduation.

My family is poor but my parents have tried to pay some of the tuition, and I have done part-time jobs in supermarkets and shops, washing dishes at restaurants, or being a baristas.

I usually spend very frugally, and about $100 only per month is enough for all food and my living expenses. During my 12 years in school, I received a lot of certificates of merit for good academic achievements, but Swing for the Kids is the very first fund to give me financial support, which has impressed me a lot. I will continue to work hard to become a good and useful person in society.

Pham Van Tung - Student University of Transport and Communications

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour

It is the first time I have been awarded with a scholarship and I am so grateful to be supported with such a large amount of money. I can now pay for part of my tuition and living expenses.

It is meaningful support for me because I was born into a very poor family. My father is often weak and he lost his ability to work because of epilepsy. The family depends mainly on my elderly mother.

The family circumstance is the motivation that forced students like me to make a double or even triple effort to get a good academic result. I always remind myself that studying well is the only way to escape poverty.

Getting this scholarship is the result of my efforts to study hard since I arrived at university. I will try my best to continue this path over the upcoming years.

Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour
Disadvantaged students feel the love of charity endeavour
VIR tees up 'Swing For the Kids' VIR tees up 'Swing For the Kids'

An annual charity golf tournament organised by VIR is ready to tee off on October 21 with the objective of bringing opportunity and hope to talented but disadvantaged students across the country. This year’s 'Swing for the Kids' event will be held at the Kings Course, hosted by BRG Kings Island Golf Resort in Dong Mo, Son Tay district, Hanoi. The registration fee is VND3.5 million ($147.6) per golfer.

By Nguyen Kim

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