|Hitting the books: Besides studying, Khanh is also interested in doing research. Many of his research papers have won provincial awards. — Photos courtesy of Nguyen Huy Khanh
Nguyen Huy Khanh, a haemophiliac, grew up in a family without much money and a shelter for disadvantaged children, all the while pursuing an education. Luong Thu Huong reports.
When he sees his classmates excitedly play football, Nguyen Huy Khanh always wishes he could join them.
However, being a haemophilia patient prevents him from doing so, because playing a sport or doing anything stressful could cause his arteries to bleed.
It does not hinder Khanh, however, from studying hard to realise his dream. Besides performing well academically, he has done several useful research works, many of which have received provincial awards. He has also just been admitted to Ha Noi Law University.
"Khanh has set an example for other students, especially disadvantaged and under-confident ones, to be courageous to realise their dreams," Duong Thi Minh Phu, the principal of Hermann Gmeiner Viet Tri High School, says about her former student.
Born into a poor family in Phu Tho Province, Khanh was brought up by his mother. At a very young age, he unfortunately developed haemophilia and has had to frequently visit hospital for blood transfusion.
His childhood was spent peacefully in a beautiful area of palm tree forests and hills of green tea. However, on a freezing day in 2011, when Khanh was an eighth-grade student, his beloved mother suddenly died of cancer.
"I felt as if my life had come to a standstill. The loneliness, sickness and the sudden painful loss of my mother was like a barrier preventing me from integrating with other people," Khanh recalls.
A new chapter in his life was opened when he was sent to live and study at the SOS Viet Tri Children's Village, a shelter for disadvantaged children, where he was surrounded by laughter, happiness and affection.
"I always consider every moment I lived in the village as my most beautiful and happy memory," Khanh says.
Thankful for the affection he receives, he encourages himself to study hard and presents his new "mothers" with numerous certificates, awards and scholarships that he receives for his excellent academic performance.
Besides study, Khanh has special interest in conducting scientific research. For example, his study of the preservation of alluvial soil of the Red River Delta in Viet Tri City was assessed as an excellent one in a provincial scientific and technological contest in 2013.
After school, Khanh has to regularly visit the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion every 10 days to get treatment, and considers it as his third home.
He cannot recall how many times he was rushed to hospital in a critical state during the nearly five years he lived in the SOS Village.
Sometimes Khanh felt very depressed and wanted to give up. But the affection of the people in the village helped him to escape death miraculously and return home.
Backed by his high school education, Khanh is now a confident freshman of Ha Noi Law University, and is trying hard to become a good lawyer.
"My mother's last wish was to see me become a lawyer," he says. "She told me that the poor often have to seek justice themselves, and wanted me to become a lawyer to protect righteousness."
|New chapter: Khanh poses for a photo with his former teacher at Hermann Gmeiner Viet Tri High School. With great support from his teachers, he tried his best to overcome sickness and study hard.
Recently, he has been one of the outstanding students in northern Viet Nam who received the Odon Vallet Scholarship, which is given to disadvantaged students whose academic performance is excellent.
Khanh says his diligence, strong determination and keenness to study have always driven him.
His achievements today are the result of not only his own efforts, but also the great support he received from his teachers and friends at SOS Children's Village, Ha Noi Law University and doctors of the National Institute of Hematology and Blood Transfusion.
"I have to be absent from school whenever I go to hospital, which makes me worry that I won't be eligible to write the end-of-term exams. However, with the support of the hospital and the school managing board, I gradually get used to attending school in the morning, going to the hospital in the afternoon and joining voluntary activities in the evening," Khanh said.
In order to catch up with lessons at the university, he gets his friends to record the lectures, helping him to comprehend the subjects thoroughly.
At present, Khanh's hospital fees, which might cost up to VND20 million (US$952) per month, are sponsored by the SOS Village.
"My greatest worry now is how to manage the fees when I do not receive sponsorship from the village," he says.
With his interest in writing, Khanh is nurturing the ambition of publishing his collection of short stories soon, the money earned from which will serve as the main source of funds for the Club of Affection and Aspiration that he set up two years ago.
The club recently launched several meaningful activities such as providing food to patients in the Phu Tho provincial's hospital or helping disadvantaged students and families.
"Other people might hold great dreams. But as a haemophilia patient who has to constantly struggle to live, I just dream of being able to live. So I will try to live meaningfully every day," Khanh says. — VNS