Life Life

28/12/2018 - 08:12

Helping people becomes a raison d’être

“I can skip a beautiful dress to share with the poor, but I am happy. Gradually, helping people becomes a raison d’être,”confided businesswoman Bui Kim Phung.

Bui Kim Phung and the children gathered together at Van An Shelter

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Hoang Viet Guest House on Nguyen Van Linh Street (An Hoa Ward, Hue City) is always full of laughter because it is also the residence of 32 children in Van An Shelter. These are the unlucky children (the youngest child only one month old, and the oldest 17 years old) adopted and brought up by Ms. Bui Kim Phung.

From A Luoi, Phan Thi Hong Van (a student of Hue Medical College) came and lives in Van An Shelter when her father died, her mother could not afford to raise 4 children. Van said: "Since the day I met aunt Phung, my life has turned a new page."

From TP. Ho Chi Minh, Phung has an affinity with Hue and the volunteer work here. She built an abandoned fetal cemetery in Ngu Binh (Hue City). Van An Shelter was founded in 2015 to support unintended pregnant mothers, unrecognized children, orphans and poor children.

Ms. Phung also opens Tam Tinh (Tranquil Mind) Vegetarian Rice Shop at 52 Ho Dac Di (Hue City) to provide poor workers and students with free portions. She coordinates with the benefactors to make the donation of thousands of vegetarian rice portions to poor patients being treated in hospitals. Every month, the fund for maintaining vegetarian rice restaurants and Van An Shelter is about VND 150 million.

Last month, Ms. Bui Kim Phung cast around to take Tran Nhat Quang (aged 4, from Dalat) to Singapore for treatment. Quang could not walk, and the cause of the disease could not be found. Too pitifully, Ms. Phung thought the boy had to be saved by all means.

Medical records were sent to Singapore when the doctor said there was hope; she immediately booked tickets for Quang and his mother to seek treatment. The fund raised from the sponsors was still short of over VND 100 million; Ms. Phung decided to borrow. When putting all the money into paying for hospital fees and taking care of Quang and her mother, Ms. Phung had to be hungry all night at the corner of the hospital.

Ms. Phung no longer remembers how many poor patients she helped with treatment. For the cases of serious illness with the hospital fee of up to VND 300-400 million, she also saw them through. In addition to the money raised, for the cases short of money, she paid out of her own pocket or borrowed if deficient.

Ms. Cao Thi Hien Oanh, a volunteer friend always working side by side with Ms. Phung, said: “A few months ago, a patient with the cerebral blood-vessel rupture had to be hospitalized in an emergency at Hue Central International Hospital. VND 230 million was needed for prompt operation at night. Unable to manage to have it opportunely, Ms. Phung had to take overnight loans.”

“Begging” for the poor

For many years, Ms. Bui Kim Phung has become the helper of luckless lives. "Good news has wings", so people with pitiful circumstances from Hue and many other provinces and cities seek her. As General Director of Viet Nga Company, a real estate business in Ho Chi Minh City, Ms. Bui Kim Phung is very busy with work. However, every time there is a serious case for help, she arranges to leave.

She moved continuously. No sooner had she attended the ceremony of awarding the Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister to collectives and individuals with outstanding achievements in implementing the 7th Central Resolution on agriculture, farmers and rural areas than she returned to Ho Chi Minh to support the poor in Hoc Mon District. Next day, she was hospitalized because of stomach bleeding, and then she escaped the hospital to move to Nha Trang to help the people after the flood. After the relief, she flew back to Hue with her children at Van An Shelter.

Rarely does Phung sleep before 3am; she tries to solve the tasks to spend time on charity. She has a simple breakfast with a sticky corn pack and sometimes all day only eats a pack of instant shrimp noodle. She is willing to sacrifice everything for good deeds; she has sold houses, land to do volunteer work.

Ms. Phung confided, “I don't know why I feel pity for the wretches in the streets. I can skip a beautiful dress to save money for the poor and am still happy, but if unable to help them, I have pangs of conscience and feel guilty. Bit by bit, helping people becomes a raison d’être; volunteering becomes the most important in my life.”

Most recently after taking care of a funeral for an ill-fated victim drowned in the Perfume River and finding the victim’s family member, she has been hospitalized with exhaustion. Queried, she answered simply, "I don't think I am helping a stranger, but a relative. Seeing what I do, many others will not be afraid and join hands. Society has many good people, but they don't know where to start, I will be an open point for people to connect and spread love.”

Ms Phung considers herself a "beggar" for the poor. In addition to Van An Shelter and Tam Tinh Vegetarian Rice Restaurant which she manages on her own, she calls for the benefactors’ support for the needy and the people with serious diseases, who need help. Knowing her volunteer work, many people join hands. Some contribute effort; others contribute fund.

Ms. Phung also cherishes many plans for the poor. The biggest wish is to soon complete the project of building a charity Oriental medicine pharmacy in Hue to serve the medical examination and treatment for the poor. This is her project in collaboration with Mr. Truong Cong Cu, a son of Hue living in Ho Chi Minh City.

Ms. Phung shared: “This is the thing I have cherished for long. When witnessing poor patients’ pain due to illnesses, I am very sad. The desire to build an Oriental medicine pharmacy grows greater and greater because I know many diseases can be cured by Oriental medicine, with traditional remedies-a good solution for many poor people”.

Her friends and colleagues said because of charity, she sometimes got into debt. Whenever back to Hue, she humorously posted a notice on her personal Facebook: "Debt for funerals, hospital fees for poor patients, rice money for charity vegetarian restaurant, orphan milk money, rice money for the elderly…. Please come and get! "

           Story and photo: MINH HIEN

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