Beauties under criticism for sham charity trip
  • | Tuoi tre | October 13, 2011 10:19 PM

A group of local beauties have come under heavy criticism after a charity trip they joined donated little money -- a modest sum of less than $100 that was not even enough to cover the cost of their lunch with disadvantaged children -- and was alleged to be nothing but a photo op.

Miss Vietnam 2010 Ngoc Han (right) was among the beauties - Photo: PL

The trip was part of the “Miss Vietnam 2010 – A year looking back” programme that gathers the Top 20 winners of last year’s pageant to have their photos taken for the book “Vietnamese ao dai,” which will be auctioned to raise money for Agent Orange victims around the country.

According to the organisers, the women would be taken on a charity trip to Thanh Xuan Children Support Centre where they would spend about five hours cleaning the place, gardening, cooking, picking up the children to schools and having meals with them from 3pm to 8pm on October 3.

USD75 for 110 meals

Because they were late, by the time they arrived at the centre, the staff already cleaned and tidied up the place, leaving the beauties with but a few simple tasks to perform, such as weeding and collecting trash outside of the institution for a short time -- and posing for pictures.

Moreover, Ngo Thi Kim Hong, director of the centre said that she was stunned to receive VND1.5 milion (USD75) from the organisers, saying the amount was to be spent on preparing meals for 110 people, including 40 of them and 70 kids at the centre.

“The money wasn’t enough for a decent meal for 110 people, so I decided to throw in VND1 million (USD48) from the centre’s budget,” Hong said.

“I had suggested that they give us more money for the meal instead of offering gifts, but they refused.”

Van Thi Chau, a nanny at the centre also said that she had to use some of her own money to prepare the meal.

“I got VND300,000 (USD14.3) to prepare the meal for children in the block I was in charge of (the centre has 5 blocks). But there were 10 more people than they had informed us, so I had to take VND100,000 (USD4.8) from my pocket to buy foods,” she said.

A volunteer taking part in the trip told to the newspaper that the volunteers donated VND2 million (USD96) of their own money to buy candies, cookies and notebooks for the kids.

It’s thought that counts, they say

Fielding questions from reporters, most of the women said they were shocked at the criticism.

“People usually associate doing charity with giving money. But how much money should be enough when there are so many disadvantaged people around?” Miss Talent Pham Bich Tram expressed her thought.

Other beauties like Ngoc Han, Nha Uyen and Thuy Duong, said the idea for the trip came to them accidentally when they thought of marking their one-year reunion with something meaningful.

“We did not bring much money and gifts but they represented our love and care for those kids,” Uyen said. “I was very upset about the criticism.”

The beauties also confirmed that they did not intend for it to be a “charity trip.” They were just hoping to bring laughter and emotional support to the children.

For his part, Dao Duc Hieu, head of the organising board, said he had given the sum to the centre on the basis of the daily cost of a meal there.

“The centre said a meal for a kid costs VND6,000. So we gave VND1.5 million (USD72) for 100 meals.”

He also said that the delegation did not plan to bring them a lot of money but to offer the kids plenty of attention and love.

He added that there were many other gift donations from the trip’s sponsors, including the Hue-based Khanh Shyna Studio, Viet Da Travel Co and Cedadon, but the centre had not told the media.

About the rumor that the beauties just pretended to do the gardening for some photo shoots, Hieu dismissed it all.

“We divided them into three teams and had them compete with each other to see which one could finish their job in the shortest time. It took us all an hour – it’s not true that we staged the whole thing in a few minutes for photo shooting.”

“We will meet Thuy Xuan centre to talk about this and figure things out,” Hieu added.

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