Vietnam Time

5/10/2018 3:22:14 PM

Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association is people’s friendship association

(VNF) - In two days May 3rd-4th, the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Bac Giang province coordinated with the two association of Thai Nguyen Province and Hai Phong City organising a meeting to exchange experience in organising and deploying the external activities of the Vietnamese and Lao people in the provincial and local branches.

Within the framework of the program, the Central Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association and the local government visited the Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, which is home to a collection of 3,050 carved woodblocks enlisted by UNESCO as World Documentary Heritage in the Memory of the World Programme in 2012. It also was recognised as a special national relic site in 2015. The delegation then visited Xuong Giang Ancient Citadel and participated in friendly exchanges.

The program is not only an opportunity for members of the provincial and city associations to meet and exchange experiences, but also for the associations to engage, exchange and learn from each other in implementing the people-to-people activities. Each province and city has their own strong points in each field of activity.

Participants pose for a group photo at Vinh Nghiem Pagoda, Bac Giang Province. (Photos: PM)

Thai Nguyen Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association: Everyone can become a member

As close neighbours and friends, the traditional friendship, solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation between Vietnam and Laos have been perennially nurtured by successive generations of leaders and people of the two countries such that they have become a common property of the two nations; an important factor to ensure the success of the cause of national construction and defence in each country, contributing to peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region and around the world.

Bringing macro-level relations closer to each people is center activities of the Thai Nguyen chapter. "It is the responsibility of the Friendship Association," said Nguyen Doan Kinh, Chairman of the Thai Nguyen Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association.

Clearly defining the responsibility of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association in tightening relations between the two countries and sticking closely to the leadership of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organisations (VUFO), the Thai Nguyen chapter with the viewpoint ‘All members can be members of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association’, has continuously expanded the membership of the association in all four provincial, district and commune levels. Members are not only those who have fought and worked in Laos such as volunteers, military experts fought along side with Lao soldiers; traditional social organisations; collective members including enterprises, organisations and agencies working related to Laos. Of which, 7,000 cadres, soldiers, volunteers returning from Laos with their relatives and nearly 2,000 Lao students studying in 13 schools in Thai Nguyen are important members of the association.

With the diversified activities in most of the key fields such as politics, economics, culture, education, sports, tourism, etc., it can be said that the Thai Nguyen Vietnam - Laos Friendship Association has mobilised and well implemented the policy of socialisation of VUFO and the Central Association. As the starting point of many policies and guidelines on the relations between Vietnam and Laos, following the motto “For the benefit of 10 years we should grow trees, and for the benefit of 100 years we should provide people with a good education” of President Ho Chi Minh, Thai Nguyen is the first province establishing cultural school reserved for Lao students. Over the resistance period, the province has formed many universities, secondary schools, vocational colleges and schools actively recruiting students from Lao provinces. Today, the province is the training center for Laos students with many cultural activities deepening the friendship between the two countries.

Representatives of three Vietnam-Laos Friendship Associations in Thai Nguyen, Bac Giang, Hai Phong provinces at the friendly exchange.

In addition, the association has coordinated with tourism companies to organise visits to battlefields in Laos for families with relatives who once fought and sacrificed in Laos. In 2017, the Association held about 15 trips to the provinces of Savanakhet, Hua Phan, Xieng Khouang, and Vientiane City of Laos with more than 2,000 participants. In terms of economy, in 2018, the association is preparing to organise a second seminar on cooperation in investment and economic development of Vietnam - Laos on a larger scale to mobilise companies and enterprises. In the field of investment and development, the association exchanged experiences and sought investment and development markets in Laos, aiming to apply for a license from the Government.

"The biggest difficulty is the change in the awareness of officials and people in the province about the special relationship between Vietnam and Laos. We can build a proper policy, thus setting up effective measures to promote the bilateral relations between two countries," said Kinh.

Bac Giang Vietnam - Laos friendship Association:  Like one big family

Originating from the Vietnam-Laos Volunteer Relations Committee established since 1989, in 2005, under the guidance of the VUFO, the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Bac Giang Province was established for the purpose of strengthening their solidarity and reinforce the two countries’ special friendship and solidarity.

As Chairman of the provincial Friendship Association in three consecutive courses, People's Armed Force Hero Tran Ngoc Phuong shared, "The target is gather core members with economic potential as many as we can. In order to maintain activities through socialisation, the association continued to spread the association's activities to the young generation, including children of volunteer soldiers participating in the association as well as regularly organising for Vietnam businesses visit Laos to seek cooperation opportunities.”

It can be said that the building of potential members is identified as one of the important objectives to help to continue and develop the activities of the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association in Bac Giang. Therefore, the association also encourage artistes to become its members.

"Culture is a practical bridge to bring the people of Vietnam - Laos closer together. Songs, dances and art creations based on the two cultures really promote the strong and close relations between the two countries," Phuong expressed.

Not stopping there, tightening ties between the two countries through building emotional closeness as family members with the Laos are probably the characteristics of the Bac Giang chapter. They always spend time visiting to share the joy as well as sadness with the Lao brothers. The affection and strong bonds like one big family has contributed to demonstrating and strengthening the special relationship between Vietnam and Laos.

According to Phuong, 'The leader plays an important role in the success of the association’s activities,' so, in the course of work, he always gives specific guidance and close attention to each activity as well as each member. Concerned members and association as well as closely-watched activities are necessary and sufficient to further improve quality of association’s activities and programme.

Hai Phong Vietnam - Laos friendship Association: Promoting creativity in activities

After nearly 20 years of establishment, up to now, the Vietnam - Laos Friendship Association of Hai Phong city has about 3,600 members which consists of voluntary soldiers and experts fought in Laos during wartime; bussineses and local people has a strong desire to foster the relations between the two countries.

Adhering to the orientation of the Central Association and the mission of the People's External Affairs of Hai Phong City, the provincial association have done well. Accordingly, the association paid special attention to officials and members, as well as promoting the participation in political and social activities of the locality such as organising trips to search for remains of Vietnamese volunteer soldiers who laid down their lives in Laos; building houses and presenting gifts to families of wounded and fallen soldiers each year. In addition, in response to the mobilisation of the Central Association, last year, the Hai Phong city’s Association also mobilised VND 29 million (USD 1,276) to build house of gratitude for Lao mother who had raised and taken care of seriously wounded Vietnamese soldiers during wartime.

Cultural exchanges between delegates and Lao students. 

As a brother city with localities of Laos as Vientiane and Oudomxay, the city's association plays a pivotal role in actively taking care of Lao students studying in the area. The association coordinating with the local schools organise many meaningful activities to encourage their learning such as introducing health care facilities for Lao students; presenting blankets in cold weather; celebrating the Lao Bun Pi May festival; presenting practical and material gifts; inviting Lao students to participate in the cultural activities of the association; hosting visits, exchanges with many provinces, cities such as Thai Nguyen, Tuyen Quang, Nghe An, Hanoi, etc. These trips educated young generations in the tradition of patriotism and the special solidarity of the two countries, especially the two peoples and the leaders. Many Lao students who graduated from the country still send letters expressing their gratitude to the association.

Despite many difficulties, the Vietnam-Laos Friendship Association of Hai Phong City has mobilised enterprises to become members, thereby promoting socialisation in association’s activities. Specifically, during the Vietnam-Laos Solidarity and Friendship Year 2017, besides awarding medals to Vietnamese volunteer soldiers and experts in Laos during wartime, the association also mobilised nearly VND 200 million (USD 8,800) from the city’s emulation-reward fund to express gratitude to their heroic sacrifices. In addition, the Tien Phong Plastic Joint-Stock Company has donated more than VND 200 million to renovate, build houses and give gifts to families of martyrs and invalids.

It can be said that the exchange program is a useful activity for the provincial friendship associations to share experiences, thereby diversifying and improving the activities of each association, contributing to improve the quality of the association locally as well as strengthening the association system nationwide./.

Translated by Chau Pham  
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