At the age of 71, every day, sunny or rainy, Nguyen Thi Huynh wakes up early, cooks steamed glutinous rice and pushes her cart to a corner of Tan Da and Nguyen Trai streets in HCMC’s District 5 to sell food to workers and students. However, since Covid-19 broke out, leading to travel restrictions, her sales have dropped by half. Her neighbors advised her to stop selling the steamed glutinous rice due to her old age and the virus, but she must still continue her job, to which she has been sticking for 16 years, for a living to support her family of five, including her husband suffering a stroke and two mentally-ill sons.
In early April, a support group from the CafeTek program launched by HCMC Television (HTV) and sponsored by Gojek donated the elderly woman a smartphone and instructed her how to use the GoFood platform of ride-hailing service provider GoViet, which has been rebranded as Gojek, to sell her steamed glutinous rice, helping stabilize her family’s source of income.
Due to the social distancing order as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Do Thi Thanh Thao’s pushcart selling chitterling gruel on Do Tan Phong Street in Phu Nhuan District has served fewer customers than before. The pushcart is her main source of income to bring up her two children. While she was facing an enormous financial burden, the support group appeared and put her gruel cart on the GoFood platform, keeping her children’s dream of continued schooling alive.
The two women are among hundreds of newcomers to the GoFood platform since the coronavirus pandemic began in mid-March. They are owners of eateries and small food stores which had previously sold food in a traditional way, meaning that customers come to their eateries for meals and pay in cash. They did not know about the technology at all, or even never used a smartphone before. The GoFood platform of Gojek and smartphones have helped a number of food providers maintain their job and stabilize income.
With the motto “No one is left behind,” Gojek has been writing meaningful corporate social responsibility (CSR) stories amid the coronavirus pandemic which are benefiting numerous people from vendors and owners of small food stores to its partner drivers.
Ms. Lynette Chong, Head of Enterprise at the ride-hailing firm, told The Saigon Times Online that “Gojek Vietnam has been working with more than 80,000 merchants from well-known brands to micro, small and medium-sized stores in alleys, which offer good foods though still with largely unknown brands. For the micro and small stores, we hope the GoFood platform can empower them through a tough time.”
She furthered that “from the very first days of operation, our commitment has been to supporting restaurants, small stores, in promoting their business, improving revenue, as well as providing them access to technology, online digital marketing tools. With Gojek’s technology, we have a more solid platform to continue our mission of bringing more positive impacts to society.”
“The pandemic has deepened the gap between the rich and the poor, between those who know how to grasp and take advantage of technology and those who do not know even how to use a smartphone. So we are trying to do what we can so that no one would be left behind, ” said Mr. Phung Tuan Duc, General Manager of Gojek Vietnam.
Moreover, as for 150,000 partner drivers, who have been financially impacted amid the health crisis, Gojek has kicked off a wide range of programs with an aim to leave no one behind.
In May, the firm offered its partner drivers 100,000 meals at some restaurants joining its system and tens of thousands of vouchers to buy goods and items at Lotte and Big C supermarkets and Ministop stores among others priced at VND250,000 per voucher. These actions were aimed at sharing financial difficulties with them.
In March, GoViet introduced an insurance product GoShield to protect its partner drivers with high returns, apart from providing them with face masks to avoid infection with the coronavirus.
Notably, Gojek is very proud and grateful to its partner drivers for their meaningful actions during a time of hardship, Duc said.
During the first wave of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a small group of ten GoViet drivers initiated a charity scheme called “From the Heart” to help the needy. The members of the group stashed cash in piggy banks every day even though they were also struggling to earn a living with pretty meager income. They spent VND2 million, after three months of saving money, purchasing face masks and drinks and delivered them to passers-by at intersections, crossroads and hospitals.
Drivers’ meaningful and inspiring activities have brought good values to the community, Duc said, adding that he deeply appreciated the kindness of the drivers who are partners of Gojek.
“Gojek is relentlessly trying to integrate corporate social responsibility (CSR) into the core of its operations to create real values to its ecosystem. The partner drivers in the ecosystem will continue to spread love and kindness to the community and encourage other people to do good,” says Duc.
This is the “Creating Shared Value” model, where enterprises and the community create good values, he added.
By Tam An