Happiness written by teacher’s kind heart

Published: 15/11/2008 05:00

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VietNamNet Bridge - Do Xuan Bach, a primary school teacher in the Mong minority village of Sin Chai has dedicated his life to educating poor children with the help of the entire community.

Teacher Bach not only teaches the children of Den Thang reading and writing, he enlightens their childhood with stories and laughter.

VietNamNet Bridge - Do Xuan Bach, a primary school teacher in the Mong minority village of Sin Chai has dedicated his life to educating poor children with the help of the entire community.

Struggling to rebuild their lives after severe flooding hit the area, many parents in mountainous Sin Chai Village, about 70km from Lao Cai, worry about where their next meal is going to come from. But despite his own hardships, one man is still determined to give the poorest children an education.

Bach with his students at Den Thang Primary School, Den Thang Commune in Bat Xat District.

He is Do Xuan Bach, teacher at Den Thang Primary School, Den Thang Commune in Bat Xat District. All 54 households in Sin Chai Village are ethnic minority Mong, of which 47 live well below the poverty line. The Kammuri storm, which hit the area in August, not only claimed many local lives, but also damaged houses and crops and swept away the only 5-km road connecting the centre of Den Thang Commune with the school. With no way to get to school, the kids couldn’t study. So 31-year-old Bach decided to teach them in his own 10-sq.m house.

Do Xuan Bach nurtures the dreams of small children he teaches.

There are seven children in his class, including his own son. The kids are between six and ten years old and live from five to seven kilometres away from the school. Their families are too poor to feed them, especially in between harvests.

“I was so moved by the children’s thirst for knowledge that I decided to take them to my house to teach them. They are like my own children,” Bach says.

From Monday to Friday, the children stay at his house and are fed three full meals a day. At night, the smaller kids sleep with Bach’s family. The older ones sleep under mosquito nets in the classroom with blankets. “My wife and I also cook lunch for another 15 pupils, so they don’t have to study on an empty stomach,” he says.

Bach was born into a farming family in the northern province of Nam Dinh. He moved to Bat Xat 12 years ago. “I adapted to mountain life quite quickly. I fell in love with another teacher at the school and now we have a family. Bat Xat is my home,” he says.

The teacher’s love for his work is reciprocated by his students. “I like living with my teacher at the school,” a grade-three student says. “If I lived at home I’d have to work on the fields with my parents. Mr Bach is like a dad to us.”

To help feed the students, parents give Bach a small amount of rice once a year. They cannot afford to give more because they struggle to even support themselves between harvests.

So the kids rely on Bach and his wife’s dedication to providing food, shelter and education for the kids. As well as the meagre income from teaching, Bach and his wife plant vegetables in a garden next to the school. “I teach the children Vietnamese and use textbooks for other lessons. It’s very hard but seeing the kids happy makes all our efforts worthwhile.”

Over in Den Thang school, teachers Co Khac Khoa and Nguyen Thi Hang provide lunch for ten students. Another teacher, Hoang Van Nga, takes care of four students, and teacher Phan Van Khoe and his wife Tran Thi Thanh take care of five students, of whom three live with them in their house. Their efforts will be honoured for Vietnamese Teachers’ Day, on November 20, when all of the teachers will receive merit certificates from the chairman of the Lao Cai People’s Committee.

It is because of the tireless dedication of these primary students that so far all children of school age attend lessons in Bat Xat District. In the last school year, the rate of six-year-olds attending school reached 99.8 per cent; 96 per cent of kids completed primary school, and 99 per cent of junior students graduated from school.

By offering students a place to stay, the teachers save their students from losing their chance at getting an education, says an expert from the provincial department of education and training. “A lot of these kids live really far away from the schools. By inviting them into their homes, the kids get a chance to learn subjects they might never learn otherwise,” he says.

The teachers at Den Thang Primary School sacrifice their own home comforts to give the students a leg up in their struggle against poverty, providing a philanthropic example for the whole of society to learn from.

(Source: VNS)

Update from: http://english.vietnamnet.vn//profiles/2008/11/813869/

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