Phạm Hoàng Khải fixes a pothole in a local rural road in Minh Diệu Commune in the Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu. — VNA/VNS Photo Huỳnh Sử
BẠC LIÊU — Phạm Hoàng Khải may be a humble and poorly-paid builder, but that doesn't stop him giving back to his community.
The man from Minh Diệu Commune, in the Mekong Delta province of Bạc Liêu, has spent two days a week voluntarily fixing potholes on local roads and repairing bridges for the past eight years.
Khải said he usually woke up early to prepare his tools, safety shoes, gloves and a vegetarian meal for a day volunteering.
When he first started fixing the roads, he asked for leftover construction materials from construction sites where he worked to fix potholes on the commune’s roads.
Then, he spent his own money to buy cement, sand and stones to carry out the work, he said.
“Sometimes, local residents donate some money or building materials to help fix the potholes,” he said.
Khải’s story of volunteerism began on an afternoon in 2012 when Khải was on his way home after a long day's work.
He suddenly saw a fatal traffic accident, which had occurred due to dangerous potholes on the road.
Khải couldn't stop thinking about the accident and wanted to do something to stop something like that happening again.
He decided to spend his own time and money to fix potholes in the commune’s roads as long as he could.
Since then, whenever potholes have appeared in the commune, Khải has come and fixed them, rain or shine.
He also repairs damage to small bridges in the commune.
“I feel the joy when I know I am doing something useful for the people around me,” Khải said.
Data from the People’s Committee of the commune revealed Khải had fixed potholes on 25km of local roads and repaired damage to 22 local rural bridges over the eight years. The cost to fix the potholes and damage is estimated in the hundreds of millions of đồng.
Poor and kind
Khải was born to a poor farmer family and he understood the hardships his parents faced from an early age.
This awareness instilled a strong work ethic in him and a desire to help others.
Võ Minh Quân, head of the commune’s village where Khải lives, said his work was meaningful as many rural roads in the commune were downgraded and funding for fixing them was limited.
Hòa Bình District’s Party Committee recently honoured him as a typical example of 'Studying and following Hồ Chí Minh's ideology, morality and lifestyle' for his work.
Nguyễn Văn Nguyên, deputy head of the People’s Committee of the commune, said authorities highly appreciated Khải’s contribution to the community.
Therefore, they had connected Khải with building material producers to help him keep his charity work going. — VNS