Thirteen-year-old Po Loong Chuyen used to get up at 5am every Monday to walk to a boarding school 10 kilometres from his house. He only went home at the weekend and helped his grandfather on the farm.
He was usually hungry because the family had financial difficulties.
|A soldier from La ÊÊ Border Guard Station helps the fostered children with their studies. Photo qdnd.vn|
Nowadays, his worries have been eased thanks to border guard soldiers.
Chuyen is among the two children of the ethnic Co Tu group being fostered by La ÊÊ Border Guard Station, helping the kids attend school and get a proper education.
Chuyen’s family is among the poorest in Cho Chun Commune’ Blang Village.
“My father died when I was studying in the fourth grade. Not long after that, my mother married another man.”
His mother abandoned him, so Chuyen lived with his grandparents who are more than 70 years old.
“My grandparents are very poor and don't have much food for me to eat. Normally we just had one meal which consisted of rice and vegetables picked from the forest.”
However, this didn't stop him from continuing the schooling.
A Lang Xuan was in a similar situation.
The death of his father last year worsened the living conditions of his family which was already extremely poor.
Soldiers from La ÊÊ visited the two children’s houses to ask the families to let them adopt the children.
To persuade the children and their families, Lieutenant Zo Ram Nghep, a soldier from the station said: “Although the child lost his father, there are still border soldiers. We will always be by your side, be your second father who will protect and care for you until you develop as adults.”
The station has worked closely with local authorities, the families and the school to ensure the best conditions for them.
In addition to arranging accommodation, the station also assigned personnel to help them with their studies. When they don’t understand their lessons, they could ask for help from the soldiers at the station.
Every day, when the bell rings, Chuyen and Xuan take morning exercises with the border soldiers.
“We sympathise with the difficult circumstance of the two children’s family. We have taught them how to behave, considering them as family members,” Nghep told Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper.
“We help the children as we want unfortunate children to have a better life and education. It is also to strengthen the solidarity between the military and local residents,” he said.
Quach Thien Du, a political officer from the station, said witnessing the children studying well and becoming good students gave the soldiers great happiness.
When asked about the assistance of border soldiers to his nephew, Po Loong Ngheh, Chuyen’s grandfather, could not hold back his tears, saying he appreciated their support.
“Now I feel secure that my nephew will have a better future thanks to the help of border soldiers.”
Coor Duong, Party Secretary of Cho Chun Commune, said fostering disadvantaged children was an effective model with a humanitarian purpose.
“In addition to taking care of disadvantaged pupils to have better lives and can go to school like others, soldiers from La ÊÊ Border Guard Station also help the local authority preserve security, order and take part in its socio-economic development,” he said.
In Nam Giang Border Gate Station, two children were adopted by the station. They are A Lang Chi, who is in the fourth grade, and Zo Ram Dung, in the fifth grade.
They are from the Co Tu ethnic group. Both of them lost their father and are from families with financial struggles.
Recognising the lack of love from their fathers, Zo Ram Thuc, a political officer from the station, has tried to spend time talking with them every day.
“When we received Chi, he was weak. He always felt sad and nervous. Sometimes, he cried loudly at night,” Thuc recalled.
Soldiers at the station tried to pay attention to the children and let them know they were not alone.
“Then one day, the two boys whispered in my ear: 'Can I call you Dad?' They looked at us with eyes filled with love and trust,” Thuc said.
The two children have become stronger, taller, and more confident.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Van Man from Quang Nam Border Guard, border guard stations in the province have adopted seven local children since the beginning of last year.
The Quang Nam Border Guards intend to expand the programme and work with agencies and social organisations to help disadvantaged children who need sponsoring or financial support continue their studies, he said. VNS
On an area of 10 square metres in a narrow alley on Sai Gon riverbank is a special classroom which has operated for more than 20 years making literary dreams come true for many underprivileged children in the city.
Vietnamese citizens quarantined after their repatriations flight back home have only three words to say: “Thank you soldiers.”