Monday, August 2 2021


Schoolboy overcomes hardship to excel academically

Update: April, 05/2021 - 17:51


Phạm Văn Thông helps his little sister study at home. Photos

HƯNG YÊN — Phạm Văn Thông was born in a uniquely challenged family, as his father suffers an intellectual disability and his mother has a history of epilepsy.

Living in a downgraded house in a small village in northern Hưng Yên Province, Thông and his little sister usually faced a shortage of food due to his parents’ illness.

Difficulties never hindered the boy from his eagerness to study. In 2020, Thông passed the entrance exam to the province’s gifted school. He is now one of the members of the school team entering the national excellent student exam in maths for the 2020-2021 academic year.

“I still want to be born in this family”

Hoàng Thị Quy suffers from epilepsy and Phạm Văn Hinh has an intellectual disability. They were in the same village in Dị Chế Commune in Tiên Lữ District and decided to live together to share their burdens in life.

Quy gave birth to two children. During their childhood, the two children played together and Thông took care of his sister when he grew older. The whole family depended on the 2,500 square-metre rice and vegetable field and some additional income from making bamboo curtains.

“Our children didn’t have milk like others. They only lived on powder and rice water,” she told the online newspaper

When Thông turned six, Quy sent Thông to school. The boy immediately loved to study and would get up early to prepare breakfast and lunch for the whole family before going to school.

In secondary school, Thông stayed up until midnight to complete his homework. He spent most of the day helping his parents in the rice fields so that they could earn enough money for food.

Quy said she wished many times that Thông could have been born to a better family.

“But he replied ‘I still want to be born in this family’”, she said.

Thông helps his parents doing chores. 

Quy said she initially didn't want to let Thông register for the gifted school as it took him an hour to ride his bike to the school.

But the boy insisted as studying at the gifted school was his dream.

“My first time entering the Hưng Yên Gifted School was when I joined the district level excellent student exam two years ago. This was the most memorable exam as I could sit in the classroom of my all-time favourite school,” he said.

Thông has had 10 years of excellent performance at school and excels at maths.

Thông said he received a lot of support from teachers and friends. The monthly allowance of VNĐ700,000 (US$28) would be a gift for him to focus on his study.

“I used to be afraid that my studies would become a burden for my parents, but now I’ve realised it would be a chance for me to make my dream come true,” he said.

“I’ll do my best to get the best result in the next national excellent student exam. I plan to become a doctor as I can help save patients and bring a better life for my parents. I do understand the feeling of those whose relatives have illness,” he said. — VNS

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