HCMC – Some 800 people from around the world joined the Saigon Children’s Charity’s (saigonchildren) Virtual Steps Challenge last month and raised VND440 million for impoverished children in Vietnam to help them continue their schooling despite the difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
During the four weeks of the online challenge, people registered for a fee of VND250,000, and synchronized their daily steps to their account on the website of the challenge via the Google Fit app. At the end of the challenge, those who reached their goals— from 50,000 to 300,000 steps—received a medal and other prizes.
The event attracted 784 participants from 18 provinces of Vietnam as well as from other countries. In addition to individual participants, many companies joined the event as a way to boost team spirit during this period of remote working.
Together, the participants achieved roughly 106,000,000 steps, equivalent to twice around the world, and raised a total of VND440 million from their registration fees, donations and fundraising efforts.
All proceeds from the steps challenge will be used to support saigonchildren’s programs to ensure impoverished children in Vietnam have access to quality education, which is even more important now due to the hardships caused by the Covid-19 crisis.
Nguyen Thi Duy Huong, head of programs at saigonchildren, noted, “Covid-19 has put immense pressure on the financial prospects of many low-income families. According to the United Nations Development Program, withdrawing children from school is one of the approaches that impoverished parents resort to when faced with a crisis. Our Child Development Scholarship program aids underprivileged children to continue schooling so that the financial burden on these families is lessened.”
The success of The Steps Challenge is attributed in part to its ambassadors around the world who voiced their concerns about the issue and called for support. Among those who spoke up were show host and online personality Dustin Phuc Nguyen from Vietnam, ONE Championship athlete Bi Nguyen from the United States, and ONE Featherweight world champion Martin Nguyen from Australia.
The Steps Challenge is an annual event by saigonchildren. In 2019, the event, dubbed “Step Up for Autism”, focused on increasing awareness about autism in Vietnam and raising funds to provide training for parents and teachers as well as to begin free early intervention therapy for children from low-income families in HCMC who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.