Viet Nam News
HÀ GIANG — Born in one of the poorest areas in northern mountainous Hà Giang Province, Vàng Xuân Bình had always dreamed of going to school to learn how to read and write.
Abandoned by his mother after his father died when he was a little boy, it was more difficult for Bình’s dream to come true.
Luckily, Bình had an opportunity to access education after he was adopted by soldiers of the Border Guard of Xín Mần Border Gate.
“I can now enjoy better meals, wear warmer clothes and particularly can go to school as I used to dream,” he told Kinh tế & Đô thị (Economy & Urban Affairs) newspaper.
Đinh Tiến Thước, a solider from the Border Guard, said acknowledging the poor living conditions of Bình, they decided to adopt him to provide better conditions and encourage him to go to school.
“Bình now gets a monthly allowance of VNĐ500,000 (US$22) and shares meals with the soldiers,” he said.
Bình is one of 12 children from disadvantaged families who were adopted by the border soldiers at Xín Mần Border Guard. The soldiers have now become their fathers and brothers.
As the children have to struggle to make ends meet, apart from education, accommodation and food, the soldiers also provide them with a monthly allowance of VNĐ500,000.
In Hà Giang Province, one of the country’s poorest localities, poverty, lack of education facilities, poor infrastructure and low awareness of local people have deprived many children of education opportunities.
Local border soldiers have worked to get more children access to education.
As part of the Border Guard High Command’s welfare programme named ‘Together we go to school’, launched in 2014 nationwide, the soldiers have helped many children in border and ethnic minority areas enjoy better living conditions and get access to education.
The soldiers have not only provided the kids with material support but also moral and spiritual support. After school, the soldiers play games and have fun with the children. At the weekend, the soldiers take the children to visit landmarks and tell them stories about the country’s history and older generations’ efforts to overcome difficulties, contributing to nurture the young generation’s patriotism and spirit to protect the nation’s sovereignty.
Giàng Mìn Cáo, father of Giàng Thìa Toán, a poor student in Phín Ủng Hamlet benefiting from the programme, said: “My family is very poor. Two cows, two pigs and a small field is all we have.”
“It is really very lucky as my son is raised by the local border soldiers and gets a monthly allowance of VNĐ500,000,” he said.
Cáo’s family is one of the poorest household in Phín Ủng Hamlet – one of the province’s most disadvantaged areas. It is located around 70km from the province’s Hà Giang City.
Nguyễn Hồng Phong, head of Xín Mần Border Guard, said apart from tasks to ensure border security, soldiers of the Border Guard have also initiated activities to help local people develop their economy, eradicate hunger and reduce poverty. Particularly, many soldiers have adopted local children from poverty-stricken families to help them enjoy better living conditions.
However, they still face challenges, especially when a number of children dropped out of school to work and earn money for their families.
The journey to help all local poor children get access to education is still long and tough but the soldiers will not give up and their efforts would be paid off. Ma Thị Thảo, teacher of Vàng Xuân Bình, said Bình was an excellent student and he always tried hard in his studies. — VNS