Dear Fulbright Community,
I wish I could begin this letter on a positive note, but the devastating impact that COVID-19 is creating in Ho Chi Minh City and across Vietnam does make it difficult to do so. A few months ago, who could have thought such a vibrant city as Ho Chi Minh City could become this solemn, awoken only by the endless sound of ambulances. For the lucky few, the pandemic brings with it news of new infected cases and updated death rate on the newspapers every morning. For the less fortunate, the pandemic devastates their livelihood, or even worse, the prospect of life itself.
Many of us cannot stop asking ourselves what we can do to help our community in this moment of heartbreak, to prevent this pandemic from ravaging this city we call home, or simply, just to offer an act of kindness to alleviate some of the pain and suffering. I understand Ho Chi Minh City is focusing every resource, every member and every leader in medical centers, urgent care locations, health care providers, and public and private organizations on responding to this fourth wave and caring for patients. I have full confidence that the recent stay-at-home orders will “flatten the curve,” and slow down transmission of the infection. However, we can see that these efforts alone are not enough; Ho Chi Minh City needs your help.
These days, health services are completely overwhelmed by a dramatic increase of new cases while medical supplies become scarcer. Specifically, learning from three members who participated in a special task force to aid the efforts of the Ho Chi Minh City’s administration and the government to monitor, prevent, contain, and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Fulbright identified that the need for more active ambulances is critical.
There are only 200 active ambulances in Ho Chi Minh City – a city with thousands of severe COVID-19 patients a day, plus other critical non-COVID-19 patients. There have been many heartbreaking stories of critically ill patients who could not make it to the hospital in time. Ambulances became the bottleneck of this anguished situation we are in; and we need quick action from the society as a whole to solve it.
My dear friends,
Although the pandemic has affected us all, the impact from COVID-19 continues to exacerbate, showing slow sign of abating. It dampened even the strongest will to help because, as some of us sometimes wonder, will it ever be enough? If you have such moment in doubt, please allow me to share this experience from Fulbright University Vietnam. With almost VND600 million Fulbright raised through the #SupportSaigon Mini Concert last month, we managed to help nearly 1000 impoverished households to have enough food and necessities for nearly a month. Such miracle does not come from us alone. It came from 294 community transactions, and counting, ranging from big or small donations, from collective to individual giving. This is just one out of thousands of similar stories to show that if we stand in solidarity, we can make a big difference.
We understand this is the time for such a pioneering educational institution as Fulbright University Vietnam to work harder than ever before to fulfill our responsibility to the society, be it from our public policy advising effort, to our fundraising activities to help those in need. Therefore, I earnestly ask you to join me in this meaningful cause to provide added support for the front-line health workers in Ho Chi Minh City. Specifically, we aspire to raise enough money to buy 3-5 Hyundai Starex ambulances (or equivalence), which cost roughly VND890-950 million/ambulance, to help transport COVID-19 patients to hospitals. These ambulances will be gifted to Covid-19 resuscitation hospitals, which are responsible for treating critically ill patients in hope that more lives will be saved. Due the time sensitivity of the current situation in Ho Chi Minh City and the surrounding provinces, we wish to deploy and complete this effort in two weeks.
We are in uncharted waters. I appreciate everyone’s willingness to be flexible, resilient, and open in light of events that are well beyond our control. And I thank you for supporting one another as we work together in the best interests of the health and wellbeing of our community.
I hope that, one more time, we can become the pillar of support for the nurses, physicians and clinical and support staff who are working around the clock to keep us safe. Working together to support each other and public health is our best path to getting on the other side of the pandemic successfully. Together, we will get through this.
Please stay safe and be well,
Dam Bich Thuy
President, Fulbright University Vietnam
*** Contact and Donation information ***
Cell: 0962286801 – Nam Trần (Director of Development & Strategic Initiatives)
Account Name: FUV CORPORATION
Bank: NGÂN HÀNG TMCP NGOẠI THƯƠNG VIỆT NAM (Vietcombank)
Branch: THỦ THIÊM
Account No.: 026100 4443345
For CASH gifts send via Wire or ACH to:
Account Name: Trust for University Innovations in Vietnam
Address: 1763 Great Plain Avenue, Curie House, Needham, 02492
Bank Name: Bank of America
Bank Address: 1414 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138
For Wire transfer the ABA routing number is 026-009-593
For ACH, the ABA routing number is 011-000-138
Account No.: 0046-6729-9360 (business checking)