Border guards act as godmothers for children orphaned due to COVID-19

May 04, 2022 - 11:06
Following a programme launch last year by the Việt Nam Women’s Union, the Kon Tum Border Guard Command’s Women Union adopted Y Cam who lost her father due to COVID-19.


Members of Kon Tum Border Guard Command’s Women Union collect old newspapers to sell, raising funds to help Y Cam - a child orphaned due to COVID-19 in the border area. — Photo

KON TUM — Women’s Day 2022 was special for 12-year-old Y Cam as she travelled more than 200km from her home to meet her 'godmothers' for the first time. 

Y Cam, from Rờ Kơi Commune in Kon Tum City in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum, met her godmothers who are female officers of the province’s Border Guard Command.

Following a programme launch last year by the Việt Nam Women’s Union, the Kon Tum Border Guard Command’s Women Union adopted Y Cam who lost her father due to COVID-19.

Y Cam now lives with her mother and grandparents in Khúc Long Hamlet, which is very close to the border with Cambodia.

Y Cam’s mother – Y Khum – said that her parents took care of the young girl while they were working in southern provinces.

The couple were infected with COVID-19 last year and the husband died of the disease, making her difficult to feed the family and raise Y Cam.

Her husband's death was not only a spiritual loss but also a heavy burden with the family having to rely on one income.

The family only has three acres of land to grow cassava, so Y Khum has to seek extra work. Y Khum added that she was so worried about her daughter who may face physical and psychological issues due to the difficulties.

Knowing Y Cam’s situation, female border guard officers decided to support her, said Senior Lieutenant Nguyễn Như Hoa, chairman of Kon Tum Border Guard Women's Union.

When starting the programme, members of the union were to offer aid to children who live in or around Kon Tum City so that they could regularly visit and provide support if needed, Hoa said.

“Y Cam was a shy girl when we met her for the first time,” Hoa said.

“When Y Cam called us mothers, we all knew that what we do is not just a charity activity,” Hoa said.

Since March 2022, they have provided Y Cam with VNĐ300,000 each month and they will continue doing it in the next five years so that she could continue to go to school. Officers from Rờ Kơi Border Guard Station also visit her house to help clean and cook.

Every Friday afternoon, members of the Kon Tum Border Guard's Women Union collect old newspapers and scrap paper. Young soldiers keep plastic bottles. Such things will be sold as recycling to raise funds for Y Cam.

“It seems that taking care of Y Cam is no longer just the job of female border guards,” Hoa said.

Y Cam’s mother said that with the aid, she could pay for her schooling or buy her food or clothes.

“The support from border guards encourages me to overcome difficulties,” she said.

Y Cam said that she understood her mother must work harder after her father died.

“I love my mother so much. I will study and do things well to make my mother happy,” Y Cam said.

After school, Y Cam usually cleans the house, cooks rice, and takes care of the chickens. She was also very excited to welcome her godmothers and border guards, she said.

The Central Committee of the Việt Nam Women's Union last November launched and implemented the "Godmother" programme to support children orphaned due to COVID-19.

According to Permanent Vice President of the Việt Nam Women's Union Đỗ Thị Thu Thảo, by the middle of March 2022, members of the union have become godmothers to over 5,000 orphans across the country. — VNS