What was your feeling when you were named one of 14 Inspiring Characters selected by VietNamNet?




Hoang Tuan Anh and his rice ATM



It was a little bit surprising to me.

There were people who had to cycle 10 or 20 kilometers from Nha Be district just to receive a bag of rice worth VND20,000.

The rice ATM program is over, but I still remember the days when I delivered nearly 10,000 bags of rice each day, and I felt so happy.

That was what motivated me to work to fulfill the plan to deliver rice to 1 million people. When the goal of 1 million was reached, it was also the time when the first Covid-1 outbreak ended.

There were donors who drove luxury cars worth VND5 billion or VND10 billion, bringing millions of tons of rice which had been placed everywhere they could, from the back seats to the seats next to the steering wheel of the car. They did not care too much about the cars, but just tried to help other people.

And there were many people carrying rice on their bicycles, motorbikes and trucks. I really respected the donors.

The rice ATMs came when people were in their most difficult time, helping them go a short distance in their lives.

In the path of life, you sometimes meet ‘holes’ and you need to overcome them. Covid-19 is one of the holes, and if the hole cannot be filled up with bags of rice, it may become a dangerous abyss.

Because of difficulties, people may do wrong things such as robbery, while old people may be in danger if they don’t have enough food.

The bags of rice helped fill up the holes and level the path of life. I believe that the rice ATMs were very significant.

Did you feel pressure when you dispensed such a big amount of rice?

Just within 10 days, the company received up to 300 tons of rice. Our staff, who are technicians and office workers, made great efforts to implement the rice ATM project.

They had to carry 25- and 50 kg rice bags in the daytime and work to create rice ATMs at night, and they had to operate the ATMs at the other times of the day.

Though we had ATMs, we still felt pressure as we had to distribute rice fairly, and everything had to be transparent so that donors were aware of who was receiving the rice. In the afternoon, donors stood on the other side of the road to supervise the distribution of rice.


The bags of rice helped fill up the holes and level the path of life. I believe that the rice ATMs were very significant."


Hoang Tuan Anh, the creator of rice ATM


After the rice ATMs, you also developed ATMs that distributed protective masks. How have they been their working?

It is a pity that my goal of dispensing 1 million masks was unattainable. Vietnam witnessed a third Covid-19 outbreak, but many people still don’t wear masks, which is a high risk.

Wearing protective masks is very important and the cost for one mask is very low if compared with a ventilator worth tens of millions of dong, or life itself.

I know you faced troubles when you were running the rice ATM and pressure from the public. What helped you continue with your project?

I helped people, but I was cursed for this. I did not have experience to deal with the problem. This affected my business. The company’s Facebook page could not be used because it was attacked. But later I found that the problems others faced were even bigger than mine.

For me, promises are more valuable than money and many things. If I promise that I will install 100 machines and help 1 million people, but I just help hundreds of thousands of people, this means that I have broken the promise. I did not want this to happen.

I realized that the people who made threats against me were not rice donors. I had to take responsibility before the people who donated rice and fix the problem.

When I ran the program, my workers helped on a voluntary basis. There are eight hours in one working day, but they had to work 20 hours a day and did not complain.

However, when incidents happened, they fell into crisis. They could not understand why they did charity work but still were cursed. And they became discouraged.

But we continued to work and we received support from many people.

You are proud of your father who helped people with leprosy for 17 years. Is this a reason that prompted you to do charity work?

The rice ATMs existed for several months, so what I could do was just very small compared with my father. I just thought I needed to do something to help the community so that my father could be proud of me. 

Ha Thu

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