|Teachers Hò Văn Lợi (front) and his colleagues. — Photo thanhnien.vn
HÀ NỘI — In his 10 years working as a teacher, Hò Văn Lợi has relentlessly strived to bring education to children in one of the most remote areas of Hà Giang Province.
Ngam La Primary Boarding School for ethnic students, where he works, is located at Pờ Chừ Lủng Village in Ngam La Commune, Yên Minh District, Hà Giang Province.
Pờ Chừ Lủng lies in the most remote area of Ngam La, whose entire population are Mông people. Fifty-two out of 54 households in the village are poor families, while the remaining two are also near-poor.
Most of the roads in the area are narrow, rocky and filled with mud, with only a few routes in the central area sturdy and smooth enough for motorbikes to pass.
Born and raised in Yên Minh District, it was not until age 10 that Hò Văn Lợi was able to go to school. Seeing his teachers overcoming tremendous obstacles to bring education to these remote areas, Lợi was inspired to become an educator.
However, due to difficult circumstances, he went on to work as a house painter after completing his K-12 education in 2004.
Five years later, encouraged by his wife and family, he started attending a pedagogy college. After graduating in 2011, he returned to his hometown and started teaching at Ngam La Primary Boarding School for ethnic students at Pờ Chừ Lủng until now.
“The surrounding area is limestone mountains, so water is scarce while there was no electricity back then. We would collect rainwater flowing down from the roof for daily use, and pack up clothes for washing when we return home for the weekend. It was difficult for both teachers and students,” Lợi told Giáo dục & Thời đại (Education & Times) Newspaper.
“Most teachers would prepare lessons during the day, as it gets really cold at night, especially in the winter,” he said.
A teacher’s job here is also a little bit different than usual. Other than being in class during the day, teachers would take turns collecting wood or preparing meals after class.
“When I first arrived, away from my wife, my family with no television or phone, there were times when I missed my home so much that I wanted to go back. But when I thought about the students and my responsibility as a teacher, I was determined to stay here,” said Lợi.
“In my years working here, there have been times when the weather is really bad, all cold and rainy, but I have not taken a day off.”
Cellphone reception is now available in Pờ Chừ Lủng, but it can take hours before the phone detects any signal,” Lợi continued, “Fortunately there is electricity, the classroom is upgraded, so life here has gotten somewhat better.”
In his career, Lợi could not recall how many times he and his colleagues have travelled to each village and hamlet to convince students not to drop out of school.
“Going to school is a normal thing for students in the plains, but in the mountainous area, dropping out of school is not unusual, it’s common even,” said Lợi. “The roads are long and tough while parents, busy working on the fields, don’t send their children to schools.”
“Especially in the winter, when the temperature drops, there are few students in the more remote areas going to school. Even when they come to class, they would shiver with only a thin layer of clothing, so then teachers would have to light a fire to warm them up before the class could start.”
“Every time a student drops out, we teachers will go door to door to encourage parents to let them come back to school. Sometimes we cannot meet them during the day, so in the evening we navigate the way with a torch to go see them,” said Lợi.
After almost 10 years working as a teacher, Lợi is still passionate about his job.
“I always remind myself to teach with compassion and responsibility. I hope that I can contribute, even just a small part, to bring education to the students and help them have hope for a brighter future ahead,” said Lợi.
“If I were to choose again, even if I know all the obstacles, I will still choose to become a teacher in the mountainous areas,” he continued.
With support from the Government and philanthropists, Mông people’s life in Pờ Chừ Lủng has improved, but multiple difficulties still remain.
That is why teachers understand the importance of their job in these remote mountainous areas, and always persevere in bringing education to the children.
According to Đặng Ngọc Bường, Principal of Ngam La Primary Boarding School for ethnic students, Hò Văn Lợi is a gentle person with good teaching expertise.
In more than 10 years of teaching at the most difficult campus of the school, he has always worked hard to complete the tasks assigned.
Despite the challenges, the school will continue to encourage and support Lợi and other teachers at the school in their job. — VNS