Going to school against all the odds

June, 27/2019 - 10:57
Thanks to support from the Cha Lo International Border Post, the futures of many poor girls in the central province of Quảng Bình have changed.


Hồ Thị Phương (left) is one of girls receiving help from the Cha Lo International Border Post. — Photo bienphong.com.vn

QUẢNG BÌNH — Hồ Thị Phương has a lot more responsibilities on her small shoulders than any 15-year-old should.

The ninth grader raises her three siblings alone, without help from her mother or father.

Phương’s father died in 2012, and then, her mother and four children lived in a very old house in Ka Định Village, Dân Hóa Commune, Minh Hóa District in the central province of Quảng Bình.

By the end of 2016, Phương’s mother married another man and abandoned her children.

Phương often thought of dropping out of school to take better care of her family, but luckily, soldiers from the Cha Lo International Border Post decided to give her VNĐ500,000 (US$21) per month until she finishes 12th grade to keep her in school, with the money provided by sponsors.

Hồ Thị Thủy, an ethnic Khùa minority, has also received help from the Cha Lo International Border Post.

Thủy is the daughter of Hồ Nôn, a former soldier of the post, who lost a leg in a fight while on duty on Phù Ác Mountain.

Thủy, who lives in Y Leng Village, is tall and beautiful and when she was a teenager, many men wanted to marry her.

But Thủy was determined to enter the boarding high school for ethnic students in Đồng Hới City.

The Cha Lo Border Post offered her the same support as Phương out of respect for their former comrade Hồ Nôn, and to encourage her to chase her dream of studying.

Thủy hopes to enter a vocational school and have a stable job so that she can support herself and not depend on others.

The story about Hồ Thị Thây’s filial devotion to her mother Hồ Thị Coong is also moving.

In June last year, the Cha Lo Post worked with the Đồng Hới City Women’s Association to give presents to poor women in Dân Hóa Commune.

Hồ Thị Coong’s husband died a long time ago, and she raises four children alone, despite being bedridden due to bone tuberculosis.

At the age of 14, Coong’s daughter Hồ Thị Thây became the breadwinner of the family.

After school, Thây worked in the fields to earn money for the family at home and for her elder brother who is studying in Đồng Hới.

By the end of 2016, Thây had to leave school to take care of her mother at hospital.

After visiting Thây’s house, lieutenant colonel Dương Đình Hoàn, commissar of the Cha Lo Post, convinced her family to let her come back to school.

Hoàn made sure that Thây could keep studying, providing her the same support as the other two girls.

More opportunities for girls

Lieutenant Dương Đình Hoàn has lived closely to ethnic Rục, Khùa, Chứt, Sách and Mày minorities.

He said many families in Minh Hóa District are raised mostly by women and the post and local authorities have tried to improve family life in the area, but changes were very slow.

Hoàn said when helping students go to school, the post prioritised girls in the hope that they would have more opportunities for upper-level education.

“We hope education will help girls to overcome bad preconceptions to be themselves. When they understand their value, they will know what to do to change their lives,” said Hoàn. — VNS