Elderly woman collects scraps, raises money for piggy banks to help the poor

For many years, a 77-year-old woman has been going to every small alley and street corner in her neighborhood to collect scraps and sell banh my to get money for her ‘piggy banks’, which are kept to help the poor.

Elderly woman collects scraps, raises money for piggy banks to help the poor

'Ma Cuc', or Mother Cuc

On a pre-Tet day, Cuc sat at her home and opened a book where she wrote down the names of poor people who needed help. After writing cards to invite poor people to come to get Tet gifts, she checked her bag once again to see if any money was left and put the money into the ‘piggy banks’ on the table.

‘Ma Cuc’, or Mother Cuc, is the name people in Ward 8, District 3, in HCM City give to Nguyen Thi Bach Cuc who has been collecting scraps and raising money for piggy banks for 40 years to help the needy.

Cuc said she is kindhearted and does a lot of charity work. When she began working for the ward’s women association, she decided to create ‘piggy banks’ to save money for the poor by collecting scraps.

“When I began collecting scraps, there were a lot of whispers and comments. People said I pretended to be poor but my children are successful. But I did not feel sad. I believed they would understand me,” she recalled.

She said when her "back was still straight" she went to every small alley to collect scraps. Later, when her back became bent with age, she went to every house to ask for scraps.

For many years, a 77-year-old woman has been going to every small alley and street corner in her neighborhood to collect scraps and sell banh my to get money for her ‘piggy banks’, which are kept to help the poor.

Finally, locals realized the humanitarian significance of her work. They voluntarily bring scraps to her house and she classifies the scraps and sells them for money.

Cuc said she "fed the first pig" for one year. When she opened the piggy bank, she found VND50 million. The amount of money was sent to many agencies and organizations to distribute to the poor.

The woman, seeing people happy with her support, said she feels 10 years younger. And she vows to continue to raise money for the piggy banks. Because of health conditions, she can no longer go alone collecting scraps. So, decided to sell banh my.

 

She has a piggy bank on her vending cupboard with the words ‘nuoi heo dat vi cong dong’ (raising piggy bank for the community), so that people can put money into it.

“There are many kind people. They put money into the piggy bank. And students also donate money,” she said.

Cuc cannot remember how many piggy banks she has raised so far and how many she has given to the poor. She is just sure that the needy can receive money.

Cuc has also been making every effort to convert certain troubled people in the locality.

There was a man near her house, a drug addict and a jailbird. The man told Cuc that he wanted to become a good man, but he could not because of alienation from society.

Cuc, hearing his story, decided that it would be better not to corner him.

“At the trial, I asked for permission to meet him and give him some gifts. I told him to start his life again after leaving prison. When he was released, he came to meet me and promised to keep away from drugs. And now he has a job and lives well,” she said.

N was another case. The man, paralyzed in one foot after being beaten, did not have a job and received no care. Cuc gave him money for medical treatment and daily meals. Feeling moved by Cuc’s kindness, N now is interested in and devoted to his work, and has volunteered to speak about the harmful effects of drugs. 

Nguyen Son

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