Street Light Project in Ho Chi Minh

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Increasing awareness while travelling by touching local lives…that’s what excites me…

When I came to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city for the 4th time, I went straight to  Town House 50 Hostel and to give life to Street Light Project, which Johnny started, we jumped on our scooter at night and drove off to rural areas of Ho Chi Minh. Let me tell you a little bit about Street Light Project whiel we’re on our way…



Johnny lives in one of the rural areas of Ho Chi Minh and every night he witnessed elderly people falling asleep on the streets with empty stomaches. After a while this situations started to bother Johnny and he decided to take action about it. Most of the nights he helps elderly people who are homeless and hungary, to have a goodnight sleep by buying sandwiches with the money left at the end of the day and giving the sandwiches to them.

Times passes and he decides to share his idea with the foreigners who stay at Town House 50 and takes them with him to reach more people with the local money that was left before they leave the country.

How I got to know about the Street Light Project started when one of the ATMs in Ho Chi minh’s airport swallowed my card and with limited cash I had with me, I was feeling horrible. What’s more, the airport was so crowded and people were hitting me while passing by and I got so distracted that I lost my laptop. The first time in my life I lost something while travelling and as I was trying to digest what happened and telling myself that all would be ok, Johnny immediately understood how I felt and told me”if you do something good and give back to the community, I don’t know if your laptop would come back but you would feel a bit better…” and started to tell me about his project and I immediately got why this hostel had a different and beautiful vibe and light…


We arrived to the place to buy the sandwiches, after asking the prices and the money that I had, we decide to buy 30 sandwiches.



I walk around the area abit while the sandwiches are being prepared. Here is far away from the city center and it is absolutely different than the city center… Johnny warns me from far away saying  “Watch out your phone Evrim!”…


Finally sanswiches are ready and we’re good to go…

It’s almost 10pm here and we’re driving  in the narrow streets of Ho Chi Minh and giving the sandwiches to the people I noticed or the ones that Johnny sees around quite often.

Here we go, we stopped the scooter to give my first sandwiches to this lady below who sells handmade accesorizes on the streets for living.


We jump on the scooter again and not long we see another person. Johnny says he sees this man selling food till late night everyday and he is homeless. I give one more sandwich and keep going with the smiles we get…

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I am giving another sandwich to this man whose home is this bicycle…


We leave the sandwiches beside the elderly people who are already asleep on the street so that they can see their sandwiches when they wake up…


Sometimes when they see a shadow, they open their eyes and wave their sandwiches with a smile..


This lady who collects bottles,  turns around and see us giving her the sandwich and she sits down to eat it with a grateful attitude..


from Johnny’s camera…



It is heartbreaking  to see these elderly people who work on the streets till late hours…

Maybe they are not going to remember my name but I am sure they won’t forget the moments when we smiled at each other while giving the sandwiches because I belive in Maya Angelou’s this quote:

At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.

 The thing that made me the happiest while travelling in Ho Chi Minh was to touch local lives…I am one of the believers that think  “Is one smile not enugh to make a change?”

To read the article on how I touched the lives of little kids by volunteering in a magical school called Angkor Tree School : “Angkor Tree School, a dream comes true

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