Mạnh is a student in grade 8, living with his mother and brother in Cu Chi. Tragedy hit his family heavily when he was in grade 4, when his father passed away due to serious heart and liver diseases. Before his fathers passing, his oldest brother passed away while 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 amidst everything around her. It sometimes seems as though she had lost her mind. She also has a problem with her hearing and sometimes she cannot hear us clearly. While visiting her at her house, we had to repeat and explain our questions many times, and it was still difficult to obtain 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 their 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 could help support his family so as to keep Mạnh in school. Tiến currently has not thought about taking a vocational training course or going back to school, but we still follow up on this case and will consider supporting him as soon as he goes back to school or decides to take a vocational training course.
Mạnh’s family live in a house built with support from the local government. 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, in accordance with the national poverty line. They were supported by a health insurance card and school fees from the government, 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 on the family-owned bicycle. Having learned about this situation, saigonchildren gave Tiến a new bicycle in January this year which helped to reduce his time travelling to school.
Mạnh (on the right) receiving bicycle from saigonchildren in January 2019
When we asked him about his plans and dreams for the future, Mạnh just smiled and said that he did not have any plans for his future yet. We understand that because of his circumstances, the future can be unclear. However, we always encourage him to study hard in order to get good results, which will help him make decision and shape dreams of his future.
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.