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25/02/2019 - 08:05

Rotating love

Although he could not make the simple dream of the poor childhood come true, Mr. Hoang Trong Thuy (Head of the Zhi - Shan Foundation Taiwan project office in Hue) has done more than that when he has kept on his learning process and worked as a person who connect and support many students in difficult circumstances.

Mr. Hoang Trong Thuy with his happiness of supporting poor students. Photo: Provided by the interviewee


Former poor student supports poor students

“Because of the extremely poverty of the old days, I just wished to be a driver to earn a living. Finishing the 12 grade, I learned to drive cars. However, it was a pity that I could not find any job; it’s an unfinished dream”, Mr. Thuy remembered. After that, he passed the entrance exam to learn Chinese in the Chinese Department – Hue University’s College of Education. However, that happiness went abreast with the worry that his young brother also passed the exam and became his classmate.

Being lack of financial ability, he suppressed his sadness to come back to his hometown to find job and resigned the learning chance to his younger brother. Because of the love for the sons, his father made both ends meet by borrowing money to let two brothers go to school.

During the school time, Mr. Thuy had to both study and work part-time to cover living expense. Additionally, a part of his learning expense was also come from the scholarships granted by the sponsored organizations. That was the thing that made him feel very grateful for. Maybe, that was the start for the fate which took him to work at Zhi -Shan Foundation Taiwan Foundation office, a Taiwan non-governmental organization after graduating.

Witnessing many pitiful plights has made him want to have a stronger attachment to those unlucky fates. Filled with pity, he told about the children who were abandoned at the cemetery. In his story, there was also a girl named Van (living in Phu Vang district), who was paraplegic and got problems with a big tumor of myelomaningocele, kidney failure, paralyzed bladder in the age of 14; she was sponsored and moved to Taiwan for surgery by the organization.

After that, at the age of 15, she was supported going to school under the education program for grade 1 student, and when she turned 20, Van finished the elementary school program and started to learn embroidery as a job to earn her living. Until now, Van has been a mature woman with a small happy family. 

The happiness of each fate is seemed as a piece in a happy picture of Mr. Thuy’s work. He said that the organization has supported over 100,000 children and currently is providing long-term sponsorship for thousands of orphans, children with disabilities and those with difficult circumstances from their primary schooling to university graduation.

“The precious thing is that there are many students who received the sponsorship of the organization now have gotten success and chosen to come back and accompany the organization to support children with difficult circumstances. The love is like rotating. Like me as a poor student who was granted scholarship, and now I’m working as a person who connect and support many students in difficult circumstances”, Mr. Thuy said in emotion.

The model of friendly library sponsored by Zhi - Shan project at Phu Mau Primary School (Phu Vang). Photo: Phuoc Ly

Purposeful reading

10 years ago, when visiting the models of foreign reading culture, Mr. Thuy cherished a project of propagating reading culture to Vietnam. “In my opinion, do not read or rarely read books not only are the matters of affecting knowledge, of opinion expressing ability, but also confine the dream of each person. Therefore, I want to spread the reading culture so that children can raise their knowledge and reach the new horizons, thereby, expanding their own dreams”, Mr. Thuy shared.

In 2018, he started to allocate books to 10 schools. To 2010, the project of “friendly library” was launched by grafting two classrooms to make 100m2 wide libraries. In that space, the book shelves, bookcases and furniture serving reading activity were neatly arranged with bright colors which are suitable for students’ age.

The word “friendly” in the name of the library implies the removal of all barriers, from attitudes, space, and means to equipment to let the students read book with the most comfortable and natural state of mind. 200 libraries has been formed, the students will have at least 1 reading class at the libraries each week. Furthermore, there will be a bookcase in each classroom for students to read in the first 15 minutes before the first class. 80.000 books have been given to 200 school libraries in the Central Vietnam (including Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien Hue).

Happily, while the statistic showed that Vietnamese students just read 4 books per year, the students of the schools having friendly libraries provided by the project, the number is up to 50 books per year (children’s book series). The average number of reader in each library is around 2.000 students per month.

Mr. Thuy still cannot stop thinking about whether that reading habit has brought any change in awareness, attitude and mentality for students or not. In 2017, he “packed up” to Hong Kong to learn more about book reading models. After returning to Vietnam, he applied the good and creative things to changing the reading culture of students, directing them to read purposefully.

Accordingly, hand in hand with the reading books, the students will write reading diaries and draw mind maps to sum up the contents of the books that they have read. Thereby, it will show up what students have reached after reading. At the same time, the book reading needs to correlate with skill development by giving presentations in class. The self-confidence and the skills of public speaking and interacting with friends will be improved when they got the mutual exchange.

Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Hue, Principal of Phu Mau Primary School (Phu Vang) – a unit was sponsored friendly library model by Zhi-Shan project, expressed: “We integrate many activities together to boost the activity of school library, as well as to enhance the skills and passion for reading for students. The clear changes in students are not only showed in reading classes but also in the positive attitude in giving opinions and bravely giving questions in other classes”.

In 2018, the Zhi-Shan project office was one in thirteen teams and an only foreign organization across the country received the “Reading Culture Development Award” awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism. Mr. Hoang Trong Thuy was also one of six individuals received this valuable award.

By Phuoc Ly