“When my mum came home saying that she had cancer, I really wanted to cry right there, but I pretended that it was not a big deal and told mum that it will be okay.”
Cha Ma Van Truong has been a recipient of saigonchildren’s scholarship for 6 years since Grade 6, and now he’s a student at Ho Chi Minh’s University of Architecture. Last month when he visited our office to discuss with our social workers, we at the communication team had a chance to listen to his story.
Born and raised in Dong Nai province to a family with his father being of ethnic Cham, Truong’s childhood was as normal as it could be, at least he thought so. However, when he turned 10, his parents divorced. Truong and his mother had to move to a small house that they built on the field of a relative’s.
Truong’s mother didn’t get to study much when she was young. She also doesn’t own land and is in poor health, so she could only do labouring jobs to earn a living. Since he was young, Truong had already taken jobs in the field to help his mother with family expenses.
However, hardship did not stop there for the two of them. Two years ago, Truong’s mother found out she had cancer. Truong said, when seeing how his mother was devastated by the news, it was all he could do to try to stay strong and positive for his mother.
Fortunately, they received lots of support from their neighbours and the teachers at Truong’s school. Truong’s mother spent a total of 8 months going in and out of the hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, with 2 operations and 2 radiation rounds. Truong accompanied his mother on all of the trips to the city to take care of her.
However, the amazing thing is, that year (Grade 11) was also the year when Truong had the best results at school. When we asked why he said the motivation came from the high expectation of his mother and his teachers, who all tried in their own ways to keep him in education. “For the first time I realised that I might have to drop out of school any time, so I wanted to try my best while I was still able to study,” Truong said.
Hope has now returned to Truong and his mother as he has passed the entrance exam to university and is a student at Ho Chi Minh City’s University of Architecture. With a new level of scholarship from saigonchildren for university students, he also will be less stressed with the costs and focus more on his study. At home, Truong’s mother has recovered from the treatments, she is cancer-free for now. With the savings from Truong’s last jobs, his mother bought a few goats that she’s raising to help with the family’s income.
Even though the road ahead is still with hardship, we are glad to see that Truong has started to reach his dream of becoming an architect. We believe that good things will come to Truong and his mother, because we can clearly see the will and determination is this young boy’s eyes.