Ngô Tùng Bích, 80 years old, teaches poor children in the border area of Bình Phước Province to practise writing letters. — Photo sggp.org.vn
BÌNH PHƯỚC — Though he may be 80 years old, Ngô Tùng Bích is far from retired.
The man in Tân Hòa Village, southern Bình Phước Province, teaches poor children in his area for free.
Tân Hòa, Tân Tiến Commune has a border with Cambodia where people from several ethnic groups live.
Their life remains unstable and depends largely on farming.
After seeing children at school age who were still illiterate or had dropped out of school, Bích opened free classes to teach children from grade one to grade five in 2009.
“On the first days when classes had just opened, I taught them in a hut with a roof made from leaves and some old furniture for five to seven children to sit on,” he told Sài Gòn Giải Phóng (Liberated Sài Gòn) newspaper.
Bích had to teach children in five grades at the same time. One group learned maths, one studied writing, another practised reading.
Word of the classes spread in the area and more and more students signed up. During the summer holidays, the class receives up to 30 children.
Bích helps the children review old knowledge and teaches them new things to keep up with the school curriculum.
Bích said he taught children not only maths and literature but also moral lessons to help them become good people.
After learning of Bích’s charity work, many people have donated desks, chairs, books and boards.
Đàm Văn Hàn lives in Tân Hòa Village and his son attends Bích’s class.
“My son’s academic performance was only average because of the family's economic difficulties and lacking care from parents. Since my son studied with teacher Bích, he has become more diligent, focused on his studies and gradually improved his performance at school," he said.
Hàn, the father, used to be Bích’s student when Bích opened the first classes ten years ago.
“I want my children and grandchildren in my family to continue studying with teacher Bích. He has taught two generations of my family, but has never taken tuition.”
Bích has even taught disabled children and five years ago, he admitted a 15-year-old boy who had problems with moving his arms and legs.
The boy’s parents trusted Bích to teach him because no school agreed to receive the disabled boy.
“Teaching the disabled boy was such a challenging time because I had to spend hours talking to him, telling him sentences and asking him to repeat to practise speaking. Half a year later, the boy could speak and is now proficient in four basic calculations,” Bích said.
Bích runs the classes for free but his own family is classified as a poor household in the area.
He and his wife live on the financial support of their children who work far from home.
Despite his difficult life, he said: “As long as I am in a good state of health, I will keep teaching. The children’s success is the highest reward for my teaching career.” — VNS