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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Cu Dong school in Huong Hoa district is the workplace of Dinh Thi Suong, Thai Nguyen Thien Ly and Le Thi Yen. One morning, the schoolchildren brought bunches of reed flowers, which they picked on their way to the school, to the class as gifts to their teacher ahead of Vietnamese Teachers’ Day (November 20).

Cu Dong school has 33 students, divided into two classes of different ages. From their dorm, the teachers have to undergo three hours of walking, climbing over abysses, mountains, and hills to reach the school. They stay at the school on weekdays and return to their dorms at weekend.

As the school is located near a river, the teachers have to ask to stay at the villagers’ houses on nights with heavy rain due to fears that the school could be washed away.

Every day, from early morning, they have to wade across the stream to pick up their students and take them home after school.

Teachers and students at Cu Dong school (Photo: NDO/Lam Quang Huy)

A few years ago, the villagers prepared lunches for their children. Recognising that most of the meals did not have enough nutrition for the children, the teachers suggested parents pay VND10,000 so that they can prepare lunches for the students.

However, not many parents could afford the money, and they had to delay the payment. With great love for their students, the teachers called for support and donation from benefactors to prepare lunches, cooked in a kitchen 1km from the school.

The recent floods in October made Cu Dong school sink into the mud. All teaching and learning equipment as well as the school’s toys were dipped in 0.5-metre deep mud. When the flood receded, the teachers had to clean up the classrooms in order to welcome students into the school again.

Teachers joins villagers to clear the mud at Cu Dong school to welcome back students after the flooding receded. (Photo: NDO/Lam Quang Huy)

Meanwhile at Ho Le school, two female teachers Nguyen Thi Thanh and Tran Thi Tha are busy with rewrapping books, cleaning tables and chairs so that their students can return to the class soon after weeks of school closure due to the recent natural disasters.

As the school’s lighting system was damaged due to the floods, they have to temporarily work by candlelight when night falls.

In Van Kieu ethnic language, “Ho Le” means “heaven’s gate”, as the school is located in a high and remote area where one can just about hear the wind blowing. The village’s head Ho Van Ung, said that he admired the bravery of the teachers, who are willing to work in Ho Le, adding that the villagers are very grateful to have them there bringing knowledge to local children.

Ho Le school has 20 children aged three to five. Following the semi-boarding model, children have lunch at school. Parents bring rice to teachers, who cook lunch for the children. As many disadvantaged families do not have enough rice to contribute every week or month, sometimes the teachers have to spend their own money to buy more rice and food.

According to Le Thi Uyen Nhu, Deputy Head of Huong Hoa district’s Education and Training Office, more than 350 preschool teachers are working in the district. Despite the countless disadvantages and hardships, the teachers have opened their hearts to cultivate seeds of knowledge among local students, treating them like their own children.

Besides their teaching career, the teachers have also made active contributions to enhancing population and family planning work, reducing poverty, and maintaining border security in the locality.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News