|Tống Phước Phúc with some of the children he adopts. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn|
KHÁNH HÒA — Tống Phước Phúc, a 56-year-old man living in the central province of Khánh Hòa, has spent almost 20 years raising unwanted babies.
Nearly 400 unfortunate children of different conditions have been saved. Most of them were abandoned by their mothers at birth.
“It has been nearly 20 years since I started my job," Phúc told Sức Khỏe&Đời Sống (Health and Life) newspaper.
"The number of babies saved has increased over time.
“The first I saved was a baby abandoned by his mother by a tree in 2004. His body was bitten by ants and he was only a little bigger than my arm.
“I brought him home and asked people to help treat him. After he recovered, I adopted him.
“Then more mothers who could not raise their babies brought them to me. Many of them are workers, students. Others are from remote areas and had unplanned babies.
“They just gave the babies to me and went away.”
A lot of pregnant mothers who wanted an abortion also received help from Phúc. He gave them advice and took care of them until they gave birth.
If mothers cannot raise their children due to various conditions, Phúc is ready to adopt them, telling the mothers that whenever they have better living conditions to raise the children, they can come back.
Many children are disabled and suffer from diseases. Phúc himself went to find drugs or doctors to treat the children.
“Many asked what motivated me to save that many babies," he said.
"I only think seeing the boundary between the life and the death, I am motivated”
“Only charity can bring people closer together. Thanks to the help of local authorities and sponsors, orphans are getting more and more support.”
Now he is raising nearly 20 children. Half of them are old enough to go to school. Others still stay at home with the youngest only three months old.
Phúc carefully took notes of every child such as the mothers’ names, where they were abandoned, ethnic groups or religion.
All of the children’s family names were named after Phúc. The middle names are part of their homeland name, ethnic group name or mother’s name to remind them of their origins.
A lot of grown-up orphans now have been working overseas. Some mothers have returned to adopt their children after 10-15 years. Some who could overcome difficulties returned and volunteered to help Phúc to take care of unprivileged children.
Not only saving children, Phúc also volunteers to bury foetus abandoned in the park, along the beach or the hills. The number buried has so far reached 20,000.
He spent money buying a land lot on Hòn Thơm Mountain in Nha Trang City to build a cemetery for the unborn children.
“I told big local hospitals to call me when there is any abandoned foetus. I felt hurt seeing them abandoned. I just wish there would be fewer left by their mothers,” he said. — VNS