Poor builder volunteers to fix potholes for eight years

Pham Hoang Khai may be a humble and poorly-paid builder, but that doesn't stop him giving back to his community.

Poor builder volunteers to fix potholes for eight years

Pham Hoang Khai fixes a pothole in a local rural road in Minh Dieu Commune in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu. 

The man from Minh Dieu Commune, in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, has spent two days a week voluntarily fixing potholes on local roads and repairing bridges for the past eight years.

Khai said he usually woke up early to prepare his tools, safety shoes, gloves and a vegetarian meal for a day volunteering.

When he first started fixing the roads, he asked for leftover construction materials from construction sites where he worked to fix potholes on the commune’s roads.

Then, he spent his own money to buy cement, sand and stones to carry out the work, he said.

“Sometimes, local residents donate some money or building materials to help fix the potholes,” he said.

Khai’s story of volunteerism began on an afternoon in 2012 when Khai was on his way home after a long day's work.

He suddenly saw a fatal traffic accident, which had occurred due to dangerous potholes on the road.

Khai couldn't stop thinking about the accident and wanted to do something to stop something like that happening again.

He decided to spend his own time and money to fix potholes in the commune’s roads as long as he could.

Since then, whenever potholes have appeared in the commune, Khai has come and fixed them, rain or shine.

He also repairs damage to small bridges in the commune.

 

“I feel the joy when I know I am doing something useful for the people around me,” Khai said.

Data from the People’s Committee of the commune revealed Khai had fixed potholes on 25km of local roads and repaired damage to 22 local rural bridges over the eight years. The cost to fix the potholes and damage is estimated in the hundreds of millions of dong.

Poor and kind

Khai was born to a poor farmer family and he understood the hardships his parents faced from an early age.

This awareness instilled a strong work ethic in him and a desire to help others.

Vo Minh Quan, head of the commune’s village where Khai lives, said his work was meaningful as many rural roads in the commune were downgraded and funding for fixing them was limited.

Hoa Binh District’s Party Committee recently honoured him as a typical example of 'Studying and following Ho Chi Minh's ideology, morality and lifestyle' for his work.

Nguyen Van Nguyen, deputy head of the People’s Committee of the commune, said authorities highly appreciated Khai’s contribution to the community.

Therefore, they had connected Khai with building material producers to help him keep his charity work going.  VNS

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