Mạnh is now in grade 8 and living with his mother and brother in Cu Chi. The tragic hit the family badly when his father passed away when he was in grade 4 due to serious heart and liver diseases in 2014. Prior to that tragedy, his oldest brother passed away when he was working in a rubber tree farm in Bình Dương province in 2008. Mạnh’s mother was distraught as a result of losing two family members in such a short time. She became emotionless with everything around her. It sometimes seems that she had lost her mind. She also has problem with her hearing; therefore, sometimes she cannot hear us clearly. While visiting her at her house, we had to repeat and explain our questions many times but it was difficult to receive information from her.
Despite her unstable mental status, Mạnh’s mom can still go to work to support the family. She is a worker at a private cashew company. Her job is to peel the cashew nuts’ shell. She works 3-4 days per week with the wage of VND50,000-100,000/day (total amount of about VND600,000-1,600,000/month). Due to the difficult circumstances of the family as well as the well-being of the mother, Mạnh’s brother (named Tiến) decided to stop studying after he graduated from secondary school (grade 9). He now helps his aunt sell fish and earns VND100,000/ day.
Tiến used to be supported by saigonchildren’s Child Development Programme. However, he stopped studying so that he can help support the family in order to keep Mạnh in school. Tiến currently has not thought about taking a vocational training course or going back to school. We still follow up on this case and consider supporting him as soon as he goes back to school or he decides to take a vocational training course.
Mạnh’s family stays in a house built with support from the local government in 2002. This house is about 32 square metres and is located on a piece of land that was given to them by Mạnh’s grandparents when his father was still alive. His family is classified as poor according to the nation poverty line. They were supported with a health insurance card and school fees. However, supporting the family is still difficult because of the small amount earned by Mạnh’s mother and his brother.
His house is about 3.5 km away from the school. He used to go to school by bicycle with his brother but now he must go to school on foot or by bus because his brother stopped studying and now goes to work by that only bicycle of the family. Learning about that situation, saigonchildren gave Tiến a new bicycle in January this year which helps to reduce his time traveling to school.
Mạnh (on the right) receiving bicycle from saigonchildren in January 2019
When we asked him about his plan and dream for the future, Mạnh just smiled and said that he did not have any plans for his future yet. We totally understand that because of his circumstances; however, we always encourage him to study hard to get good results, and this will help him make decision for his future in the following years.
Mạnh (second from the right) receiving textbooks from saigonchildren for the new school year
Sponsoring a child in need is the best investment one can do. There are still many stories like Mạnh’s to help, and you can always join hands with us to remove barriers to education.