Teacher Ha: Support 'disadvantaged marginal lives' on the mountain

WVR - On every tour of gifts-giving to orphans, getting to learn about the hard situation of the children who cannot afford going to school, Ms. Nguyen Thi Ha – an English language teacher at Phan Dinh Giot High School (Dien Bien) goes back and forth to seek and connect the benefactors for the "Foster Children” Project.
Teacher Ha: Support 'disadvantaged marginal lives' on the mountain
Teacher Ha has adopted more than 20 children with special circumstances in Dien Bien province. (Photo: Hanh Nguyen)

Sincerity touches the heart

“I travelled over 30km distance to visit the baby when it was very dark. The road was long and the rainy weather was not favorable, but I know that every month my baby looks forward to the day to meet her teacher, so I just go to her.”

…On a bed, three other toddlers were sleeping soundly, “no clothes for wearing” sounds queer but it was true. The blanket was very old... The tiny house accommodated eleven lives together. The wood fire stove was the only light in the hut at the moment.

Today, I bring fish, meat, eggs, cakes, milk, jelly, fish sauce, soup, noodles to you, baby... the whole family was very cheerful. I hope that for many times, many months, many years to come, I would still be able to support my baby... Until my baby grows up, reaches her mature age and escape poverty!”

This is the written status in teacher Ha’s personal Facebook page about the situation of the toddler named Vang Duyen Phong from Hua Rom hamlet, Na Tau commune, Dien Bien Phu city. Every month, such sharing lines are continuously added and the story is lengthened.

“I don't post it to show off, but the main purpose is to report to the philanthropists about the cases they support. At the same time, thanks to the power of social networks to connect more hearts so that more disadvantaged lives can be foster" teacher Ha confided herself.

Although Phan Dinh Giot High School, where teacher Ha works, is located in the city of Dien Bien Phu, more than 70% of the students are ethnic minorities, coming from remote districts in the province such as: Tua Chua, Muong Nhe, Nam Po, Dien Bien Dong, and Muong Cha. Most of the children come from difficult circumstances, from poor households, orphans..., lack of food, and lack of clothing.

In her job, teacher Ha witnesses many winter days when the children have to huddle in thin clothes. Then, at the beginning of the school year, when welcoming new students, each toddler looks dark, thin, and shy... again she feels sad. From then on, she confides more with the children, carefully studying each circumstance, their thoughts, and aspirations to try to connect with appropriate assistance.

“At the beginning, I had some old clothes, shoes, and books at home; I brought them to give the children. On the weekends, when I have free time, I cook fish in a pot. Gradually, with the time goes by I asked for more from friends, relatives and colleagues. Every time I have to talk tactfully so that the toddlers are not upset in accepting it. Perhaps, because everything is so real and sincere, it easily touches many people's hearts. Then, the benefactors proactively suggested that they would provide longer-term support for the children," teacher Ha said about the reason why the "Foster Children" Project was formulated.

Teacher Ha: Support 'disadvantaged marginal lives' on the mountain
The "Foster Children" Project connects sponsors with monthly support from VND 0.5 - 1 million with necessities for each case. (Photo: Hanh Nguyen)

Up to now, her "Foster Children" Project has connected and supported more than 20 cases in many difficult areas in Dien Bien province. Every month, each child receives a budgeted amount of VND 500,000 up to 1 million, along with essential necessities. Currently, the youngest foster toddler is 3 years old and the oldest is 17 years old, most of them are orphans or babies with disabilities.

Lo Thi Nguyet Nhi, class 10A6, is the "foster child" that teacher Ha is always proud of. The child’s father died in a traffic accident when Nhi was not yet born. Her mother worked hard to raise her and send her to school until she was 11 years old when the mother became seriously ill and passed away. She was then taken in and raised by her uncle and aunt. Because of difficult circumstances and poor health, the educational path was at risk of drop-out after finishing 9th grade.

“If I hadn't met teacher Ha, I would have gotten married and probably had children by now like some other girls in the village. Thanks to the teacher’support, I was able to continue my in-school studying. Not only does she support my studies, her encouragement gives me more motivation to strive. Last school year I was an excellent student, I was very happy," Nhi explained.

Diary is filled with more “disadvantaged marginal lives"

In love with volunteered charity, teacher Ha often takes any opportunity to go to remote and difficult hamlets to give gifts and charity. Then, her diary has become increasingly longer with "disadvantaged marginal lives”.

“Every time I go to the village to give gifts, I often take time to visit the surrounding households, comprehend and record the difficult cases that need help. It's just a pity that the log book is so thick with numerous support need, but in reality we can only connect with a few ready-to-help sponsors. I am really worried and anxious that my strength is limited," Teacher Ha confided.

This is also the reason why Teacher Ha has recently promoted the information and sharing on social networking sites. In each case, before deciding to send a call letter or a request for support, Teacher Ha went directly to the house and met with hamlet representatives and local authorities for verification of cases.

“For every child in the highlands, I hope the child would have a full life, sufficient food, warm clothes, equal care and protection... but that is too ambitious. So support can only be connected to each specific, truly special case. And I also hope that every heart that has been entrusted to me would be delivered to the right place, at the right address, and of truly value". Teacher Ha shared.

However, in not all cases the support is enough. After providing support, she realized that many cases are in real difficulty, the difficulty overlaps other difficulty. For instance, taking the case of Tran Dinh An Na, class 6A1, Thanh Luong Secondary School, whose mother suffers from scleroderma (a rare disease in the world with no cure).

The illness makes Na's mother disable. The small, old house left by her grandparents is so small that the door is too narrow for only two people. However, Teacher Ha said that Na and her sister were very understanding, always polite, study hard and they did not mind doing the housework. The first impression sympathy made Teacher Ha irristible worried.

“The day I visited, Na's mother recognized me as her former high school teacher. Nearly 20 years have passed, and meeting each other again in this situation is truly heartbreaking. I love my old student, I love the children... I hope to be able to do more, but for now I can only adopt Na," teacher Ha confided.

Teacher Ha: Support 'disadvantaged marginal lives' on the mountain
Teacher Ha has fun with her pupils. (Photo: Hanh Nguyen)

Then, also from a charity trip in Tau hamlet, Hua Thanh commune (Dien Bien district), teacher Ha learned the story of a blind old woman raising two orphan children. Last year, a child who went to work in Bac Ninh had a traffic accident and became paralized. All expenses for food, drinks, and daily activities depend on the hump backed old woman's income.

“Returning home, I have contacted many benefactors to ask for funds for monthly support to her. I planned to bring 10kg of rice to give to the old woman according to a regular schedule, but before I set out, I heard that she had passed away. At that time, it was extremely painful. Every story and case haunts me so much that I can't stop striving. But this journey is still long; I need more sympathy and sharing hearts. I hope that the students I sponsor would grow up and have stable jobs in the future to help their hamlet and homeland. Being able to inspire the students makes me very delightful" she said.

As for teacher Ha, not only does she have a kind and tolerant heart, but during her work at Phan Dinh Giot High School, she is also one of the teachers who have well performed her teaching job at the school level for many years, and has had many achievements in teaching, as well as social union activities at many levels. Her constant efforts have been recognized by sectors in many forms of reward such as Certificates of Merit, Recognition of Merit from the Education & Training sector, the Provincial Youth Union and the Central Youth Union.

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