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Man brings dreams to ethnic minorities

K’Liêm couldn’t sleep when he heard his poor family would be getting a new house.



Besides his main work as a sculptor and painter, Nguyễn Thành Trung spends his time helping poor ethnic minorities. — Photo


K’Liêm is a member of the K’ho ethnic minority in Lộc Thành Commune, Bảo Lâm District in the Central Highlands province of Lâm Đồng.

He has dreamed of replacing his home – a dilapidated hut – for eight years.

K’Liêm and his wife’s family are both poor and did not have land on which to build their home. His aunt gave him a small piece of land to build a hut, but the structure was too weak to cope with strong wind and rains.

The couple is hard-working, but they earn just enough for daily meals and their children’s schooling.

The man who helped bring K’Liêm’s dream to life is Nguyễn Thành Trung, a 66-year-old sculpture and painter who works in Bảo Lộc City in Lâm Đồng Province.

Hearing people talk about K’Liêm’s situation, Trung drove nearly 40km to K’Liêm’s house. Seeing K’Liêm’s difficult situation and how determined he was for his children to go to school, Trung decided to help out.

After the journey, Trung posted photographs of K’Liêm on his Facebook page, asking for help and money.

Trung used donations to build a new house for K’Liêm.

K’Liêm’s first child is a seventh grader. He goes to school in the afternoon and looks after cattle in the morning. He brings books with him and revises in the field. Trung is searching for a scholarship for the boy so he has the chance for a better education.

Kind heart

Trung has built more than 20 houses for poor, ethnic minority members over the past three years.

The poor people are in different provinces, including Lâm Đồng, Đồng Nai, Ninh Thuận and Đắk Lắk.

Trung started his charitable work after a business trip to Đạ Hoai District in Lâm Đồng Province.

He was so moved seeing two brothers and their sick mother living in a small hut that could collapse easily in strong winds.

“Their house became an obsession for me, and I decided to start something to help them,” said Trung.

Trung told the story of their house on Facebook. To Trung’s surprise, a person immediately wanted to donate dozens of millions of đồng to help them (VNĐ10 million equals US$430).

The owner of a construction material shop found out that Trung was helping poor people, so he reduced his prices for Trung.

With lower prices, each house cost about VNĐ50-55 million ($2,100-2,300).

Trung also designs houses by himself so that they are suitable for the land area and local terrain.

Phạm Văn Quyết, 63, one of the builders that helped build K’Liêm’s house, said that Trung was a very careful man.

Trung checks the house’s quality frequently and asks builders to think that houses for the poor should be as good as their own.

When choosing poor people to help, Trung often gives priority to those who are trying to maintain their children’s schooling despite their situation.

“Poor but still determined to learn, they will have a brighter future and then be a good example for others,” said Trung.

Trung always reminds the poor that they can thank him by trying to live well, raising their children well and helping other poor people.

Trung also helps find jobs for the poor so that they can have more stable income.

“I do the charitable work because many people with kind hearts are surrounding me, and I call them my benefactors,” said Trung. — VNS

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