Vietnam Invents 'Rice ATM', Providing Free Rice For The Poor Amid COVID-19 Lockdown

Salena Harshini |Apr 14, 2020

Rice ATM in Vietnam is invented and invested to help the underprivileged have more access to food amid lockdown and economic difficulties.

An entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has invested rice ATM, a 24/7 automatic distributing machine supplying free rice for those who are out of work due to the ongoing national lockdown.

Vietnam has had 265 confirmed coronavirus cases with no deaths as of late. However, as a consequence of the 15-day social distancing plan which started on 31 March, many businesses have shut down and thousands of people are temporarily laid off from work.

Atm Gao
The citizens lined up for rice ATM in Vietnam, neatly without crowding or pushing (source: VnExpress)

The machine dispenses from 1.5 – 2kg bagful of rice to each person waiting. Hoang Tuan Anh, the owner of this idea, shared with state media that he wanted everyone to feel that they still had resources and food in spite of the ongoing economic difficulties.

Similar rice ATMs in Vietnam have been set up in other cities such as Hanoi, Danang, and Hue.

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Mr. Hoang Tuan Anh, Project Manager
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Each kilogram of rice costs more than 12,000 VND, but the owner of the store supports Mr. Tuan Anh to import it for 11,000 VND

From 11/4 up to now, after the first rice ATM in Vietnam were installed and put into operation in Hanoi capital city,  more than 2,200 poor people have been helped so far with a total of over 6.5 tons of rice.

It is expected that the free rice ATM project in Hanoi will set up10 machines in 10 districts throughout Hanoi, operating until April 2020. The goal is that the poor would not have to go too far to receive rice, so that the underprivileged in different districts have equal opportunities.

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Underprivileged citizens queuing to receive rice from the rice ATM in Hanoi (image source: thanhnien.vn)

With each withdrawal, a person will receive 3kg of rice. Each machine will be provided with 3 tons of rice per day. Total project rice needs about 300 tons of rice.

With this rice ATM in Vietnam, people just have to step on the button and they will get 3kg of rice in less than 3 minutes.

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People have their hands disinfected before and after getting rice (image source: thanhnien.vn)

Nguyen Thi Tuyen (80 years old, Bac Tu Liem District, Hanoi) heard that free rice was dispensed and her daughter came with her to the spot to get the rice. "We can eat 3kg of rice for a few days, I feel so happy to receive this," she said.

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A woman was moved to tears when she was given free rice amidst the family's economic difficulties (image source: thanhnien.vn)
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Rice is continuously poured into the machine to distribute to people (image source: thanhnien.vn)

Ms. Tran Thi Hong (in Bac Tu Liem district), though suffering from foot pain, still tried to arrive at the distribution point to get rice for cooking for the family of 6 people. Due to the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, she did not have a source of income from the sales profession as before.

"The whole family is running out of rice. I was trying to borrow some rice when I hear the news, so I came here to receive it. I hope the epidemic will quickly go to an end so I can go back to work," said Hong.

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Many people have been supported with this the automatic generator (image source: thanhnien.vn)

The program organizers said that many sponsors have supported the project at present, but helping the poor have a warm meal amid the COVID-19 epidemic is only half of the project's goal.

The rice ATM in Vietnam project organizers call on all organizations and individuals in Hanoi who are economically capable, compassionate and loving to participate.

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