ClockTuesday, 20/12/2022 07:43

The elderly “strive for literacy”

TTH.VN - “Despite our old age, we still strive to learn how to read and write since life will be much better with literacy.” - that is the confession of a student in the illiteracy eradication class in Village 3, Vinh Thanh commune, Phu Vang district.

Never too late to learnFemale officers equipped with children education skills

The teacher helping the students improve their handwritings

Longing for literacy, striving for literacy

After lunch, Mrs. Nguyen Thi Lat becomes very “moody” while washing the dishes. She is worried, nervous, but excited at the same time. These are indescribable feelings that she has never experienced for decades.

This is because Mrs. Lat has just attended the illiteracy eradication class and been elected the class monitor at the age of 62 when she has had 7 grandchildren. So,  Mrs. Lat usually prioritizes a long and deep sleep after fishing on the lagoon overnight and bringing what is caught to Vinh Thanh market to sell until almost noon before returning home.

But now, that priority is for reviewing lessons to be able to come to the class just in time at 13:30. The misty face of the woman who has been living in the lagoon for decades lights up with a smile: “While the oldest grandchild of mine is in 7th grade, I have just started to learn how to spell. However, I’ve worked hard all my life to earn a living to take care of my children, now I can learn how to read and write for myself.”

Having given birth to 8 children, Mrs. Tran Thi Be and her husband shouldered the burden of making a living in order to properly raise their children. One has graduated from university while another one has become a worker exported to Japan, etc., thereby continuing to steadily step out into the world. Now, the mother who struggled at the riverside or at the corner of the market for most of her life “return” to take illiteracy eradication classes in the old age.

Students being attentive to pages of the notebooks

“Some people may think that there is no point for the elderly to learn how to read and write. But no matter how hard it is, I still want to learn since life is much improved with literacy,” Mrs. Be confided with a bright smile.

Just like Mrs. Nguyen Thi Lat and Mrs. Tran Thi Be, other students of the illiteracy eradication class in Village 3, Vinh Thanh commune, aged in their forties to over sixties, have become grandmothers. In the past, they were people floating on the river, with boats being both their homes and a means of livelihood. After being settled ashore and having a stable house, their life is getting better and better after many years of hard work and saving. Now they are “longing for literacy”.

“Though reaching fifty, I am still illiterate. So every time I get a policy loan from a bank, I can't sign but to press my fingerprint on the contract, which sometimes make the ink cartridges empty. I can’t even use my phone. At times like these, I really wish I knew how to read and write,” recalled Mrs. Tran Thi Cuc.

Not living in Vinh Thanh but working as a fish vendor at Vinh Thanh market, Mrs. Phan Thi Som (Phu Gia commune, Phu Vang district) also shares the same feelings of longing for literacy. Mrs. Som confided that she loved to learn how to read and write when she was a child. However, her parents worked really hard as farmers and there were too many children in her family. Therefore, the 4 daughters had no choice but to help their parents spread manure to grow peppers, tobacco, sugarcane, etc., hence suffering from illiteracy.

Later in her daily life, Mrs. Som was quietly sad countless times when others were angry and accidentally said the word “ignorant” to her. The woman who had many grandchildren said in a deep voice: “Since I don’t know how to read and write, sometimes I am truly ignorant. I have to get my husband, children or grandchildren to save the name of my customers. Even if their names are saved, I don’t know how to find them. Many times after buying fish when I need to call my customers to come and buy the goods, I struggle to ask others for help. That’s why I really long for literacy. Therefore, when I learned that there would be an illiteracy eradication class in Vinh Thanh commune, I immediately enrolled in it.”

Elderly students being excited to learn how to read and write

Life is much improved with literacy

The house of Mr. Tran Thanh's mother, Deputy Head of the Village 3 Farmers' Union, which was once quiet, is now bustling. For 3 weeks now, the large yard has become the “place” for the illiteracy eradication class with white chalkboards, tables and chairs for students moved from the Center for Vocational Education - Continuing Education of Phu Vang district.

In each session that lasts from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and occurs four times a week, the students – the mothers and grandmothers – focused their eyes on the platform, read along with the teacher in unison, and then worked really hard with their handwritings.

Mrs. Duong Thi Hue, the teacher, observes each student to guide them when someone has difficulties with their handwritings. Many elderly students work hard to improve their handwritings on the pages of their notebooks after being helped by Mrs. Hue.

Occasionally, a student timidly asked: “Is it correct?” Encouraged by Mrs. Hue, the teacher, the weather-beaten faces become less tense. Sometimes, the “elderly” students are filled with pure, childlike joy when one student shouts out, “I am now able to write my name”.

Students being eager to learn how to spell

Mrs. Phan Thi Som tearfully recalls her wedding day which happened decades ago - the great happy day of a person's life – she, as the bride, wanted to read her and her husband's names nested at the wedding hall, but could not.

“Now that my husband knows that his wife attended the illiteracy eradication class, he says that I must follow my study no matter what happens. My husband’s will is also my determination, that is, to follow what I pursue till the end, so that I can read and write well. Not only can I work better, but I can also “surf” Facebook & Zalo, read newspapers and expand my horizon later on.”

Hanging around in the classroom is not a student but Mr. Tran Thanh, the Deputy Head of the Farmer's Union of Village, who is even “busier” than the elderly students. He is finding a place to put the fan so as to make everyone cool, or sometimes saying encouraging words to those whose hands are shaking when holding a pen.

“Being stressed is inevitable in the first stage of learning how to read and write at this age, but the spirit of the elderly to rise up to become literate is very admirable.” As he recalled, some active women asked if there would be an illiteracy eradication class. He was very happy to announce that such a class would be proposed when the District Center for Vocational Education - Continuing Education came to the area for counseling.

Students being immersed in each lesson and excited to show off the words they wrote

Therefore, when Mr. Tran Gia Cong, Secretary of the Phu Vang District Party Committee came to visit and work with departments, branches and mass organizations in Vinh Thanh commune, asking what was difficult in the settlement area, Mr. Thanh expressed the elderly’s desire to learn how to read and write. “The Secretary of the District Party Committee immediately noted and said: for a person, having food to eat and clothes to wear is not enough, for their affluence is not complete without literacy. Right after that, from the direction of the Secretary of the District Party Committee, authorities and related organizations of Vinh Thanh commune, together with the District Center for Vocational Education - Continuing Education, quickly opened an illiteracy eradication class in the area,” said Mr. Tran Thanh.

The opening of the illiteracy eradication class was propagated on the local radio system. After only seven elderly people actively enrolled in the class, Mr. Thanh and officials of associations and unions visited and grasped the number of illiterate people in the area, while at the same time continued to campaign. Thanks to that, a total of 12 students came to the illiteracy eradication class.

“It is another joy whenever one more person come to the class as being literate means a changed life, from mastering knowledge and information through books and newspapers, social networks, and expanding connections with the community,” expressed the leader of Vinh Thanh commune.

“In our old age, we still try to learn how to read and write because our lives will be much better with literacy.” - I would like to conclude by using the confession from the bottom of the heart of Mrs. Tran Thi Be.

Story and photos: QUYNH ANH - MINH DUC

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