A special class in Hanoi pagoda
Updated : 09/17/2012 16:33 GMT + 7
No fancy bags, no colorful pens and clothes, and no thrilling school drumbeats but they have had a good time together ever since 2007 when a special class was first run by an elementary school teacher in Hanoi.
Fifty eight students, aged 6 to 25, with particular defects, both mental and physical, have been learning with Le Thi Hoa, a teacher at Dong Son Elementary School in Chuong My District, for six years now at Huong Lan Pagoda in one of the district’s rural communes.
Some suffer from cardiac disease and intellectual deficiencies while others are born paralyzed, deaf and dumb, or infected with Agent Orange.
Hoa decided to open the class after she realized that many students at her school were falling behind because of their mental and physical problems.
“Together with some of my colleagues, I came to ask the monk who manages the pagoda for a room where I can teach them separately,” the teacher recalled.
Class facilities like tables, chairs, electric fans, and book shelves are all donated by local philanthropists, the teacher said.
They made good progress after one year, Hoa said, adding word of mouth then sent more students to her class.
Hoa has had to learn sign language and devised some specific gestures to talk to the students in class, she said, elaborating that conveying a message to these special students is always a challenge as they are all slow in digesting knowledge.
“Sometimes I have to repeat a sentence up to 8 times,” she revealed. “It is somewhat a difficult job since I also have to feed them and take care of their personal hygiene at the same time.”
Do Dinh Bia, a parent, said his daughter has become livelier and happier since she attended the class.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Hoa for treating the students as her own children,” Bia said.
Initially, twenty-one teachers took turns to teach the class every weekend but now the number is reduced to nine after twelve already quit because they cannot find time for it any longer.
“At times I feel depressed because I cannot cover the cost of new books and clothes for my students,” Hoa said. “But I know that I am not allowed to leave them behind since I now see the class as my second family.”