Phạm Văn Mong, pictured with the students of Ba Tô Primary School. — Photo tuoitre.vn
QUẢNG NGÃI — Phạm Văn Mong, 68, of Ba Tô Commune in central Quảng Ngãi Province has been voluntarily donating his family land for building roads and a school.
"My wife and I are happy to see the kids here have a school to go to," Mong told Tuổi trẻ (Youth) newspaper in his house, where his certificates and awards are displayed.
For him, it does not matter if his yard gets smaller or not. In the ethnic H're man's thinking, contributing to the greater good is everything.
"Mong is a pioneer in donating land for public works," said Phạm Văn Phân, secretary of the Party Committee of Ba Tô Commune.
"He donated the land plot adjacent to Highway 24 to build Ba Tô Primary School and elected to live inside the village. Not many people are so benevolent."
Had Mong sold the plot he donated to build a school, which is 600sq.m of land adjacent to a highway, he would have earned a few hundred million đồng, which is a great fortune for him. But for future children to have a good place to study, Mong ignored such calculations.
"Mong always thinks for the village before thinking for himself," said Phân.
Mong said that before he lived in Nước Ố hamlet, the mountain rains caused land cracks to widen, and the whole village was evacuated by the government. The small village where he lived was named Di Dời (Evacuation) Village.
"My house used to be near the national highway, and the landscape is very beautiful. But I donated land there to build a school so my children could study. I'm old. It's okay for me to live in the village," said Mong.
From the day he relocated to Di Dời Village, Mong witnessed the children studying in the old, dilapidated school.
Knowledge will benefit H're children to go further than their ancestors. And, of course, the spaciousness of a school will help to achieve primary school universalisation quickly.
In 2015, Mong's wish came true when money was poured into building the school. But the campus was precariously placed and needed a lot of ground levelling.
The school administration was hesitant because this additional cost would reduce the school's spending in other areas. Hearing this, Mong donated 600sq.m of land near Highway 24 (next to the school) to have more land for construction.
His decision surprised many because the government had not mobilised him to donate the land.
His actions removed many difficulties in building the school. Gradually a new sports training area, office building and classrooms were built.
Trần Văn Xuân, vice principal of Ba Tô Primary School, whose whole life was attached to education in mountainous areas, said that finding flat land to build the school was not easy.
"The school is very grateful for the work of Mong," said Xuân. "The quality of teaching and learning at the school has improved markedly in recent years due to Mong's great contribution."
But that is not Mong's only contribution. The farmer also donated a portion of land for roads.The concrete road in front of the Mong's house is also built on 1,800sq.m of land he donated.
In 2016, as part of the "New-style Rural Areas" movement, the small road in front of Mong's house was expanded. Mong was excited because it was the wish of many generations of local people, especially the 30 households in Mang Ka Rế Village.
He said the road was just a small path before, and it was difficult for people to work in the fields and carry agricultural products.
For villagers in the rain season, travelling to the centre of the commune was arduous as the small trail was flooded with water.
In many places, landslides occurred. To arrive at Mang Ka Rế, you had to park your motorbike on the highway and then walk.
Although Mong is oblivious of the "New Countryside" movement, looking at his poor and elderly relatives, he just wants their difficulties removed.
In 2016, about 1,200sq.m of garden land of Mong's family was affected while measuring and setting up marks. Mong agreed to donate land to pave the way. Officials and locals widely applauded Mong.
"If it's for the village, there's nothing that I wouldn't do," he said.
In 2018, Ba Tô Commune continued to expand the route for people to transport agricultural products easily. Mong, again, donated another 600sq.m for the cause.
Now, 2,400sq.m of his own land has become public property. Although his house is now small and the spacious garden is no longer there, Mong still smiles with simple happiness at the knowledge he has helped his community.
"Every time he donated land, Mong also cut down many acacia and areca trees that were about to be harvested and dismantled them. Although they had a value of more than VNĐ100 million (US$4,300), he never asked for compensation," said Phân.
For Mong, just helping the village is the main thing
"Seeing the children rushing to school, having a spacious place to study and play, to be honest, my wife and I love it," he said. — VNS