by Van Dat
Education the key to success for rural low-income families
One rural commune in the Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh can boast that 600 of its residents hold graduate and post-graduate degrees. At least two people have doctorates and 16 others have master's degrees.
Whenever the residents of Cang Long District's Nhi Long Commune are asked about the surprising number of university graduates, the answer is invariably "poverty".
Nguyen Van Truong, for example, has received much praise in the commune, even though he lacks land for agricultural production. The father of eight works as a motorbike taxi driver.
He has told his neighbours that education is the only way to overcome poverty. Truong saves all of his earnings, about VND100,000 a day (or half of the amount on some days) to help pay for the children's education. Some of his children sell lottery tickets to help support the family.
Four of his children are university graduates who have contributed to the family's finances and helped the younger children. Two of them are studying at Tra Vinh University, and another is in the 12th grade and the youngest in the eighth grade.
Pham Van Nhanh, who also lives in the commune, says his four children have also graduated from universities. He now lives in a new house built from his children's earnings.
Nguyen Huu Quang, another resident, says 15 people in his family have university degrees, with half holding master's degrees.
Nhi Long Commune has been awarded the title Hero of the People's Armed Force twice. At least 500 families sacrificed for the nation during the war.
Merit student in Can Tho becomes professional babysitter
Two years ago, 11th grader Le Van Trieu's mother had a stroke and was unable to function properly. His father was away for business, so the only son had to take care of the family, who live in Can Tho City.
One day, when a relative who needed to pick fruit to earn money was looking for a babysitter, Trieu accepted immediately since he wanted his mother to hear the laughter of children at home.
After word got around that Trieu was a professional at the job, he began receiving more offers to babysit. He now makes VND20,000 (US$1) a day, with some people paying him with food rather than money.
The 16-year-old is a merit student in literature (winner of academic competitions held regularly in the country) in Can Tho. He plans to become a chemistry teacher. — VNS