Having undergone many difficulties in her life and career, not only does successful pop singer Thao Trang appreciate what she has, she also wants to help foster strong values in her community.

The Vietnam Idol winner had a difficult childhood, during which she and her family often faced financial hardship. This extended into her teens as Trang attempted to launch a career as an artist, a road that has led to phenomenal success, but which was fraught with challenges.

It is, perhaps, this persistence and drive that resonates so strongly with Trang’s fans, and why she is such a powerful ambassador for campaigns like CHANGE’s “Stop Wasting Food”, a long-term, multi-phased initiative that calls on communities to reduce food waste.

We caught up with Trang, who explained why she has decided to help raise awareness of food waste throughout Vietnam.

CHANGE: “Hello Thao Trang! In recent years, you have become an ambassador for many community campaigns in Vietnam. Are there any special reasons for this?

Thao Trang: “I believe community-based volunteer campaigns are important and need as much help as they can get from those that can help. I am fortunate enough to be successful and so wherever I can use that to help communities and organisations I believe in, I will.”

C: “Why did you decide to take part in the “Stop Wasting Food” campaign?

TT: ““Stop wasting food” is a very practical project because it aims to minimize the habit of wasting food – something that is happening everyday. The first activity is to launch a social media campaign called “An het roi” (Eat up food) with two ambassadors, Ha Okio and myself. It encourages people to finish their portions, upload photos of their empty plates on social media (Facebook or Instagram) and add the hashtags #anhetroi and #eatupfood

CC: “Did the difficulties you experienced as a child influence your decision to take part in “Stop Wasting Food”?

TT: “My childhood has strongly influenced my life. The family meals were frugal and sometimes we struggled for food. I remember once when I was young, I stayed home with my youngest brother while my mom was selling goods at the market. He was sick that day, but we had no rice left. So, I had to go to my neighbor to borrow some rice to make porridge for him so he could take his medicine. This memory reminds me that food is precious.”

CC: “How do you feel when you see people, perhaps friends and family, wasting food?”

TT: “I lived with my family in Quang Tri when I was young. It was a poverty-stricken place and my childhood was spent selling food in the market. Sometimes I helped my family sell iced tea, dad’s water spinach, or mom’s sweet soup and donuts. Things are easier for us now, and my mother sometimes buys more food than she can cook or store, and that eventually has to be thrown away. However, I’ve started to encourage her to only buy the food the family need to help reduce food waste that has a negative impact on the environment. Now, she wastes less food and is saving money; so everyone wins!”

C: “Have you had any negative responses to requests to stop wasting food?”

TT: “Not yet, but if I did I would bear with it (smiles) becasue not everyone is aware of the impact that wasting food has on the environment. However, I think this is a very practical thing to think about so I’m sure people wouldn’t react too negatively.”

CC: “Do you plan to release any songs for the campaign?

TT: “This is a great idea and I would love to do it. First of all, though, I will be releasing a new single at the end of this year. After that I can focus on new projects.”

CC: “Thank you for speaking to us and sharing your experiences, Thao. We look forward to hearing your new single!

By: Binh Minh – DEP

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