Sunday, December 6 2020


Guards cross borders into fatherhood

Update: July, 03/2017 - 16:11
Senior Lieutenant Phạm Văn Thắng (L), 38, has works in the Dào San Border Station with China in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu for more than 13 years. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Major Nguyễn Hùng Vương of the Tân Thuận Border Gate, a customs post on one of HCM City’s rivers, got married when he was 29, but only became a father at 40. Vương’s daughter, Nguyễn Ngọc Linh Đan, was born last March.

Vương keeps hundreds of his daughter’s photos on his mobile phone. “No property can compare with my daughter. She looks like me,” said Vương.

At 15 months, she weighs 13kg and is taking her first steps. The chubby, pretty toddler fills his house with joy, says the proud dad.

Vương’s family lives in Gò Vấp District, an urban area of HCM City. He goes home two or three times a week. “Whenever I come home, my daughter sticks to me. I love her so,” he said.

Linh Đan is the product of fertility treatment made possible by the so-called “sterility fund” founded by the Việt Nam Border Guards High Command. In 2015, Vương was among hundreds of border guards who received VNĐ20 million (US$890) each from the fund.

While not a large sum compared with the expenses of treating sterility, it is still of great help. “The most important thing is the spiritual support, and the leaders create best condition for me to travel so that I can meet my wife regularly,” said Vương. “My leaders even agreed to move me from a poor area to a better area so that the treatment can have good results,” he said.

Political duty

Senior Lieutenant Phạm Văn Thắng, 38, has works in the Dào San Border Station with China in the northern mountainous province of Lai Châu for more than 13 years. “The terrain is very difficult and the area is poor, and I also met obstacles when I wanted to have children,” he said.

Thắng got married in April 2011, but only became a father five years later. “Without support from my leaders and the sterility fund, I’m not sure I would have had a child,” he said.

His wife works in his hometown in the northern province of Vĩnh Phúc and in the past, he was only able to come home every 18 months, and it took him several days to travel. Thắng said that since the fund was founded, the leaders allowed him to go home every two or three months to participate in treatment.

Thắng’s leaders believe fertility treatments are also a political duty. Border guard soldiers often serve in hardship posts, a fact that might affect their fertility, and the leaders try to create the best conditions for soldiers to undergo treatment. “The fund is a very humane initiative, express care for soldiers,” said Thắng.

“I cannot forget the feeling I had when I held my daughter for the first time. I was so nervous and I had a sleepless night,” he recalled.

Senior lieutenant colonel Lâm Văn Huy, from the HCM City Border Guards’ High Command, said the "sterility fund" was one of the most important welfare policies adopted by the border guards. Donations to the fund have been made by all soldiers in the guard forces and this has helped many couples, he said.

“Seven out of nine couples in my unit who were childless now have children. And the remaining two are under treatment,” he said. “The unit creates the best conditions for them to have longer leaves, or even move closer to home so they can meet their wives more often.”  — VNS

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