|Border soldiers teach the children. — Photo baonghean.vn|
NGHỆ AN — Na Ngoi Border Guard Station in the central province of Nghệ An has become home for many children abandoned by their parents.
Local soldiers not only perform their assigned military duties but also care for youngsters.
Over the past five years, the soldiers have helped 32 children and adopted two who live full time at the border station.
Most of the children receiving help from the soldiers are orphans or from disadvantaged families and have dropped out of school.
Soldiers not only offer financial assistance to the children but also help them with their studies.
Grade 5 student Vi Dương Cầm, and Mùa Bá Sâu, from grade 6 are the two children adopted by the soldiers.
Cầm is the youngest child of an extremely poor family with four children whose parents lost their jobs.
Sâu’s father passed away when he was small and his mother left him at home to get married to another man. He and his younger brother live with their paternal grandfather.
Without the help of border soldiers, Cầm and Sâu would have not been able to continue their studies.
Lieutenant Colonel Vi Văn Lâm from Na Ngoi Border Station said it had been a regular activity over the past five years that the ‘father’ (soldier) takes the children to school every morning and pick them up in the afternoon. Every evening the soldiers sit with the children to help them with their lessons.
The soldiers patrol around the villages to perform their duty during the day and when the sun goes down, they become fathers and teachers who teach the children how to read and write.
Chồng Của, grandfather of three children abandoned by their mother in Phù Khả 1 Village, said the soldiers gave children bikes to go to school and teach them.
“All of my grandchildren love the soldiers. I also regard the soldiers like members of my family,” he said.
Mùa Chồng Chà, head of Phù Khả 2 Village, Na Ngoi Commune, said: “Poverty is not something strange to local people here. More than 50 per cent of local households are classified as being poor.
“A lot of children have grown up in poverty. They suffer from not only material shortage but also love from relatives. Many children grow up with no parents or are abandoned. They have to live with their grandparents, relatives, or ‘adoptive fathers’ who are border guards.”
In 2021, Na Ngoi Border Guard station called for the help of 45 organisations and individuals to support poor people and students in the commune with donations collected worth more than VNĐ2 billion.
Not only Na Ngoi Border Station, other border stations Nghệ An Province have helped 97 students in difficulty, of whom 16 are from Laos. — VNS