Vietnam’s back-to-school day, September 5, has witnessed many touching images of students overcoming different hardships to go to class on this special occasion.
Among the photos shared on social media that, two tear-jerking pictures have grabbed the most attention.
New academic year ceremony by the stream
In Lai Chau, a province in the northwestern region of Vietnam, students of the Nam Nga Junior High School had to gather at an empty piece of land by the stream to attend their new school year ceremony.
This is a stark contrast from schools in urban areas, where the ceremony is held in the schoolyard with a stage put up and several other decorations to make the event more special.
Photos capturing this ceremony was posted on Facebook, breaking the heart of many people.
According to Nguyen Long Khanh, the principle of Nam Nga school, the location was chosen instead of usual schoolyard because of the increasing number of students in the past three years, as well as the lack of space on campus.
Hence, every year before the ceremony students and teachers of Nam Nga will gather and clean up the land with the hope of having a proper ceremony like other schools even if the venue might not be as proper.
However, several days prior to this year’s ceremony, the area experienced heavy rains resulting in the rise in water level which flooded the land and posed a threat to the event.
Fortunately, on September 4, a day before the ceremony, the water levels went down and the land was available for Nam Nga school to use for the ceremony.
Teachers and students all gathered to clean up and level out the land so as to make it ready for September 5.
However, only 300 students could make it to the ceremony as the other 100 lived in flood-hit areas.
What’s worse is that the ceremony was further interrupted as the rain started pouring suddenly the middle of the event. The school managers decided to end the ceremony early so as to guarantee the safety of the students.
The new school year ceremony is a common practice in Vietnam, held annually on September 5 at all schools in the country.
The occasion usually consists of musical performances, speeches from principals, teachers, and students, as well as other activities such as camps, sporting events, and recreational competitions.
Put in the plastic bag to go to school
In the neighboring province of Dien Bien, many students were put into a plastic bag and brought across a fast-flowing stream by their parents to make it to school.
Images of these students were quickly spread on the internet and social media
The heart-broken scene was captured in Huoi Ha, a mountainous village in Muong Cha District.
A local official confirmed to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the photos were taken and shared online by teachers from the local Huoi Ha school.
In this remote area, 100 students from first, second and third grade, as well as kindergarten of Huoi Ha began the new school year started earlier, on August 20.
The photos were taken on August 31, when a flood came in the afternoon and prevented students from crossing the stream to go home after finish their class in the morning, as there is no bridge, according to Thai Thi Vui, one of six voluntary teachers in the village.
“After finishing classes at noon of that day, many students and kindergarten children could not go home,” Vui said.
The students had to wait for two to three hours, until 3:00 pm when the water levels started going back down.
“Only at this point did the parents dare to put their children in the plastic bags to carry them across the stream,” Vui continued.
The teacher said she decided to take out her smartphone and filmed some videos as she witnessed the scene.
As the photos and videos were posted again on September 5, Vui noted that the images of students getting into a plastic bag to cross the stream were from August 31, so as not to confuse the audience.
Northwestern area of Vietnam is known to locals as one of the most drastic environments to live in with heavy floods during rainy seasons and severe droughts in dry season.
The region is also home to many ethnic minorities and low-income families.
This is not the first time students of Dien Bien and Lai Chau experienced such hardship to attend the ceremony.