7-year-old girl carries her brother to class

Dien BienHer mother is paralyzed, her father is blind, and Hang Thi Giang is only able to carry her 2-year-old brother to class.

For the past two years, students and teachers at Huoi Thanh 2 School, Nam Ke 2 Primary School for Ethnic Minorities, Nam Ke Commune, Muong Nhe District have been used to seeing a second grade student weighing less than 20 years. kg, I carry my two-year-old brother to class, every morning.

The old school site is more than a kilometer from Giang’s house, the dirt road is narrow, each time the muddy rain splashes over the head. Every time she climbs uphill, she wraps her arms around her brother behind her back, who falls forward like the women of Nam Ke every time they go to the upland. When going downhill, Giang changed the position like a bicycle that needs to be braked, carefully taking each step so as not to roll over. At the end of 2021, the Huoi Thanh 2 school site was moved to a new location, about 300 meters from my house, so it was less difficult to carry me to class.

When he got to class, Giang took off a piece of cloth wrapped tightly around his brother’s back, pulled a chair for him to sit next to, and then took out his books to review. During the lesson, the two-year-old boy sat still, staring at his sister. Sometimes, when I was disturbed, the crying drowned out the teacher’s words, forcing Giang to take him outside to comfort him, waiting for him to stop completely before entering the next class.

Hang Thi Giang sat next to her 2-year-old brother (wearing a hat) at the classroom on the morning of January 21, when her mother went to the fields. Photo: Quynh Nguyen

In previous years, the story of students carrying children to class was not strange to teachers in Nam Ke, especially during the rice harvest in October and November because the whole family had to go to the fields. But now the whole school and only Giang has to carry her to class. “There is no other way because Giang’s parents are disabled and the boy is not old enough to go to preschool,” said teacher Pham Van Thanh, 35, homeroom teacher of grade 2.

Giang is the second child in a family of four siblings. Before me is my brother, 12 years old, studying as a part-timer in Nam Ke commune, then there are two boys aged 3 and 2 years old. Giang’s father is Hang A Tinh, 54 years old, born blind. Her mother is Ly Thi Gia, 43 years old, hemiplegic, both have lost their work capacity, and their lives depend on relatives on both sides and social benefits.

Previously, the whole Giang family lived in a super crooked hut, temporarily built of bamboo, wrapped around to avoid rain and sun. In 2019, the local government and relatives on both sides helped build a wooden house about 70 square meters.

Gia and her daughter Hang Thi Giang sat in front of her house on the afternoon of January 19.  Photo: Quynh Nguyen

Ly Thi Gia with her daughter Hang Thi Giang in front of her house on the afternoon of January 19. Photo: Quynh Nguyen

“There are 60 households in the whole village. Ly Thi Gia’s family is the poorest. Both of them are disabled and cannot work. They raise four young children,” said Mr. Dang A Dinh, 49, head of Huoi Thanh 2 village. know.

Each month, Gia and her husband receive a disability allowance of nearly 1.3 million VND. Particularly, two poles of field, with a pair of buffaloes and chickens being raised on the fields, bought by the parents of both sides, then plowed and raised for help.

“Cai Gia was disabled since childhood, unable to work in the fields, every day she only goes to herd buffalo, then collects firewood and picks vegetables in the forest. Her husband is blind and can only sit in one place, so the housework and taking care of the two children are all done by her daughter. I’m only in second grade to help out,” said Mr. Ly A Giang, 63, Giang’s grandfather.

Because he carried him to class, every 10:30 am, when the school was over, Giang asked the teacher to go home to get rice for his father to eat, and then returned to school to have lunch with him. “Only at school can the children eat rice and meat, and my wife and I can eat anything,” said Hang A Tinh.

Giang went to the kindergarten to pick up his 3-year-old brother home on the afternoon of January 19.  Photo: Quynh Nguyen

Giang went to the kindergarten to pick up his 3-year-old brother home on the afternoon of January 19, when the youngest brother was taken care of by his mother who went to the countryside. Photo: Quynh Nguyen

In class, Giang likes to study Maths and Vietnamese because knowing how to calculate can help her father calculate the money for selling chickens, selling rice and teaching letters to her mother, so that she can read and write like everyone else.

“Giang is a good student with good academic ability, although a bit naughty, but I admire his determination to go to school. While many students just want to leave school to go to the countryside, he always regularly goes to class regardless of rain or shine, teachers and teachers. never have to go to the campaign house”, Mr. Thanh confided.

The poor family still ask their relatives to help, but Gia and her husband said they would send all four children to school, not leave work. “Even if I have to sell rice, sell buffalo or borrow money for my children to go to school, I will do it. I don’t want my children to stay in the village for the rest of their lives, not knowing what’s on the other side of the mountain like their parents,” she confided. .

In the last days of the year, the way home of the Giang sisters is more poetic when plum flowers in Huoi Thanh village begin to bloom. Giang said that even though she had to carry her younger brother to class and take care of her father instead of her mother, she would not drop out of school. “My dream is to be a teacher like teachers. To be able to mobilize more students to go to school, be literate, and let the whole village get out of poverty,” she laughed.

Since you have read this article, we have a proposal: The School Lighting Program of the Hope Foundation – VnExpress newspaper will build 2 new schools for students in Muong Nhe district, Dien Bien. Readers’ contributions will motivate many upland children to go to school and study in better conditions. Join the program here.

Quynh Nguyen


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