The Mekong Delta brings to our mind the image of high density of rivers and canals. Normally, tourists get interested in the bamboo footbridges in the Mekong Delta and has the desire to conquer these footbridges. However, the local people have always been haunted by these footbridges. Whenever they cross these bridges, they have to accept the risks, and particularly crossing the bridges becomes extremely dangerous for the elders and small children on their way to school every day. Therefore, the residents have always wished for a concrete bridge, however, they fail to make their wish come true due to poverty and hardship. Being aware of such fervent wish, a group of 11 overseas Vietnamese from Canada, the U.S., Japan, France and Australia, have raised fund both at home and abroad to replace the bamboo footbridges with concrete bridges all over countries, particularly in the Mekong Delta. In year 2016, the Group had helped build 27 concrete bridges at the expenses valued at 6 billion VND.

On January 1, 2017, the Group organized the opening of the Overseas Vietnamese Friendship Bridge 223 at Hamlet One, Ward Phong Phú, Suburban District Cầu Kè, Trà Vinh Province. To get to the Bridge, it took us 4 hours by car, travelling on paved roads, only 1 meter in width, as well as crossing along the endless fields, typical of the Mekong Delta. The Overseas Vietnamese Friendship Bridge 223 was built within 1 month, with the length of 41 meters, the width of 2.5 meters, and the capacity of 1 ton, at the cost of 300 million VND, in which the Overseas Vietnamese Group supported 100 million VND, Phước Tường Pagoda supported 119 million VND, and the local authority supported the rest.  In 2016, the Overseas Vietnamese Group helped build 27 bridges, at the cost of nearly 6 billion VND. The Group’s deed has a significant meaning to the people of the Fatherland as it has facilitated the mobility of the people in the remote areas. Moreover, such friendship bridges have helped the local people in trading, thus contributing to the economic development and raising their living standards.

Besides the presence of the local authority, Phước Tường Pagoda and the Overseas Vietnamese Group, the opening ceremony of the Bridge 223 received a large turnout of the local people, from elders to small children, who wished to see with their own eyes the opening of the bridge. Everyone’s face lit up with happiness, simply because the Bridge would remove their worry over the weak footbridge that would collapse at any time, when they and their children crossed every day, particularly during the hurricane season. Moreover, the Bridge increases the Buddhists’ accessibility to the Pagoda.  Also, within the Opening Ceremony, the Overseas Vietnamese Group presented 50 gifts to the disadvantaged pupils, including notebooks, pens, clothes, instant noodles and 40 gifts to the local needy people. Since 2004, the Overseas Vietnamese Group has helped build 227 friendship bridges, at the cost of over 30 billion VND.  The Group’s lofty deed is highly appreciated, demonstrating the affection and enthusiasm attached by the overseas Vietnamese to the Fatherland. Especially, the Friendship Bridge 223 was completed and put into operation on the threshold of the Lunar New Year. It was indeed a lavish gift of the Overseas Vietnamese Group for the residents of Ward Phong Phú, Suburban District Cầu Kè, Trà Vinh Province, on the occasion of the Lunar New Year. We hope that the Overseas Vietnamese Group will continue receiving generous support from the community to further advance their mission, thus building more and more Overseas Vietnamese Friendship Bridges all over Viet Nam.



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