|Đinh Hữu Nghĩa, a third grader at Tân Lạc Primary School, Quỳ Châu District collects his bicycle from a soldier in the central province of Nghệ An. —Photo baonghean.vn|
NGHỆ AN — Dozens of poor and underprivileged children have been given old bicycles, notebooks and financial support by soldiers from the Quỳ Châu District Military Command in the central province of Nghệ An.
The gifts are aimed at reducing the financial burden on parents and encouraging children to study harder.
Vi Đức Hoàn, a fourth grader at Châu Hoàn Primary School in Quỳ Châu District, said: “My parents are poor so they can't afford to buy me a bicycle. I often walk 3km to school. I always wanted a bicycle.”
He used to jump on the back of a friend's bicycle to go to school.
Hoàn’s dream came true when the soldiers gave him one of his own.
Đinh Hữu Nghĩa, a third grader at Tân Lạc Primary School in Quỳ Châu District now cycles to school every day instead of walking.
Đinh Văn Du, 70, Nghĩa’s grandfather, who has raised Nghĩa for nearly a decade after his parents divorced, said the bicycle had renewed Nghĩa's passion for learning.
Lương Tuấn Hiệp, a fourth grader at Châu Hạnh Primary School in Quỳ Châu District, said he was given a green bicycle late last year by the soldiers.
“I’m thankful for the soldiers and I'm trying to study harder,” he said.
Hiệp’s mother is single mum. They live together with his grandparents, who are poor farmers. Hiệp also often walked more than 3km to get to class.
They are among 20 poor students who have been given bicycles by the district's Military Command since last year.
Lieutenant Colonel Lê Xuân Sơn said they launched the programme “Bicycles for children” late last year.
Sơn said Quỳ Châu was a mountainous district with complex terrain, so they had the idea of collecting old bicycles from soldiers and giving them to poor children to help them get to school, he said.
Sơn said the idea aimed to share the financial burden with parents and guardians in the district.
The soldiers also donate funds to the five poorest children in the district each year, with VNĐ200,000 (US$8.5) per month.
Major Nguyễn Toàn Thắng, head of the Propaganda Department at the provincial Military Command, said the programme had inspired other military units in the province to take action to spread love for poor children.
Bicycles, notebooks and financial support have been sent to hundreds of poor students so far.
Soldiers in the province’s Vinh City have also helped to repair rundown classrooms and donated nearly one tonne of rice and over 1.2 tonnes of vegetables for a school canteen.
“These efforts aim to build the image of soldiers follow Uncle Hồ's morality and lifestyle – doing simple things for others with love and sincerity,” Thắng said. — VNS