Hanoi man enriches local youths’ lives through donated books

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Hanoi man enriches local youths’ lives through donated books

The ‘youthful bulletin board’ at Ha Tuan Linh’s studio, located in Hanoi, Vietnam, contains thankful, supportive messages for Linh’s numerous community activities. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Ha Tuan Linh, who has been active in community work over the past six years, has worked to share the pleasure of reading with young people across Hanoi by donating his own books and collecting others in hopes of expanding his network far and wide.

This 26-year-old Hanoi resident wants his peers, especially underprivileged ones, to have special days to look forward to, the days when they receive used books from his ‘makeshift’ library.

Linh proudly showed a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper correspondent his ‘youth bulletin board’ featuring heartwarming notes from grateful beneficiaries and fellow volunteers.

As a person who has always been fond of reading, Linh finds it saddening that books nowadays are not loved by as many people and used books often end up in trash cans.

Ha Tuan Linh turns his own room, located in Hanoi, Vietnam, into a ‘used book hive’. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre
Ha Tuan Linh turns his own room in Hanoi, Vietnam into a ‘used book hive.’ Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre

Driven by a desire to promote reading among young people, the young man decided to launch a ‘roomful of books’ project in Ho Chi Minh City.

In October last year, the young man took the project to his hometown, Hanoi, where he turned his own studio nestled in Dao Tan Street, Ba Dinh District into another ‘roomful of books’ to spread the joys of reading to more and more people who may otherwise never realize it.

Since the ‘makeshift library’ went into operation, according to Linh, his group has received many donations of books from both individuals and organizations, which helped his project grow.

With an aim to gift the used books to the right person and give them a new life, the project’s members meticulously put the tomes, ranging from literary works, textbooks, self-help books, and economics books, into categories and try to maintain them in good condition.

The members generally post photos of donated books as well as meaningful messages from each publication on their Facebook page.

A bibliophile who aspires to connect fellow youths through books, Linh said his project has drawn in good support and become an inspiration for book readers.

“We really hope to spread the passion for knowledge, sow ‘seeds’ on values of books and reading habits among the young, as well as promote awareness of environmental protection through recycling used books,” he shared.

“The last thing we want is the books going to waste.”

The young bibliophile wants to gain more community and corporate support by urging the community to lend a helping hand to the cause so that his vision will gradually come to life.

Linh began his community service six years ago when he tended to children with cerebral palsy and got involved in youth activities initiated by non-governmental organizations.

Over the past six years, this young Hanoian man has been tirelessly engaged in community activities, particularly ones that benefit youths. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre
Over the past six years, this young man has been tirelessly engaged in community activities, particularly ones that benefit youths. Photo: Ha Thanh / Tuoi Tre

There are times when the young man has mixed feelings about the tasks at hand and is under pressure to quit what he is doing in favor of making his own living.

Despite running low on money, having less than VND10,000 (US$0.4) in his pocket at times, the man still brings books across the capital city to those who need them on his motorbike.

From his own cramped room, he meticulously packs and fixes old books, used clothes, and computers so that he can donate the items to underprivileged people.

Despite his own financial difficulties, Linh shared he takes pride in what he is doing and finds meaning in his work.

“What I’m doing is try to help others listen to their inner souls and heal wounds,” he said.

“Most of us tend to link charity work with joys, but overlook our inner part which is being healed,” Linh stressed, adding he somehow tries to balance between community work and livelihood to keep extending his reach.

The man revealed he dreams of spreading his wings to the central region, but has to shelve his plan for the time being due to travel restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

He hopes his vision of opening the ‘roomfuls of books’ across the country will soon be fulfilled so that book lovers can find their much-needed tomes thanks to his team’s hive of activity.

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