Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — For more than 10 years, a row of cheap rooms on Hà Nội’s Đê La Thành Street has become second home for dozens of relatives of sick children.
The rooms are rented out by Nguyễn Thế Hiệp, 70, to relatives of children admitted to the nearby National Pediatrics Hospital.
The price to hire a shared room with air-conditioning and an old television is just VNĐ15,000 (65 US cents) a day.
Phạm Cúc, a native of Hà Giang Province, one of Hiệp’s tenants, said she’d taken her 5-year-old daughter to the hospital for treating a heart condition.
“It’s an unbelievably cheap place in an expensive city like Hà Nội,” she told the Gia đình mới (New family) online newspaper.
Nguyễn Thị Hương, from the central province of Nghệ An Province, said she has been using a shared room in Hiệp’s house for two years. Hương’s daughter has been treated for a brain-related disease in the hospital for two years. The treatment has cost her a lot of money.
Hiệp only charged Hương rent for the first year, and has not taken anything for this year.
“I’m always sad because my daughter is sick and I worry about the hospital charges.
“But his kindness makes me feel better.”
Ngọc Khánh, father of a 15-year-old daughter who needs regular dialysis at the hospital, said he and his daughter have fought the disease for 29 months now, and they have stayed at Hiep’s house for all this time.
“It seems to be my second home,” he said.
“Living here at a cheap price has helped us much. The room has air conditioning, so we can survive during the summer,” he added.
Normally, a shared room can accommodate about 10 persons, with three parts, a kitchen, toilet and sleeping area.
In Đống Đa District, it costs at least VNĐ1.5 million ($65) a month for a separate room with air conditioning and television, and only two people are normally allowed.
Poor, but kind
Lương Thị Thuần, 64, Hiệp’s wife, said she and her husband started renting rooms since 2008. Both of them have no job. The rent is their sole source of income.
But they set the rent at the lowest level they could, because the need very little to live a simple life, she said.
“We have only one desire. To help poor people, especially poor parents of sick children,” she said.
Thuần, a vegetarian and a Buddhist, said she always felt warmth and happiness when she could support other people.
Hiệp and his wife use a 6sq.m room in the house for themselves, and the rest is rented out to poor people.
Hiệp said that the Phương Liên Ward’s administration, where he lived, had asked him to attend a meeting in 2015 in order to award him with a certificate to recognize his contribution to the community.
However, when several people at the meeting remarked that he was doing it to become famous, he rejected the certificate.
“I do it because I just want to do something good for other people.” — VNS