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Vietnamese teacher couple provide free breakfast for low-income students

Friday, May 24, 2019, 15:01 GMT+7
Vietnamese teacher couple provide free breakfast for low-income students
Pham Thi Theu (left) offers poor students free breakfast in Nghe An, north-central Vietnam. Photo: Doan Hoa / Tuoi Tre

A married couple who both work as teachers in the north-central Vietnamese province of Nghe An offer a free homemade breakfast to low-income students at their school on a weekly basis.

Luong Van Ba and Pham Thi Theu, a married couple who are teaching at Dung Hop Middle School in Nghe An, occasionally skip breakfast on their way to school.

But while the couple knew they had choice to skip a morning meal, the realization that many of their students were forced to start their day on an empty stomach inspired the husband-wife duo to begin giving away 250 free meals every Tuesday morning.

“At first I was worried about our financial situation, but now I just try to stay focused on providing the students with a nutritious meal,” Theu said.

Preparation for Tuesday’s breakfast usually begins the night before, when Ba and Theu begin collecting ingredients. 

The couple then wake up early the next morning to start cooking. 

Though it is an early start, all the tiredness seems to fade away the moment they see the excitement and happiness in their students’ eyes.

Ba also noted that the couple pick the ingredients they use to prepare the breakfast themselves in order to ensure the quality of the meal.

“We try to maintain this weekly breakfast so that the children in the area have enough energy to study,” said Ba.

And of course, the children are thrilled.

“We get to try sticky rice with pork floss, banh mi [Vietnamese bread], and fried noodles instead of just plain rice,” Lo Thi Thanh Hoa, a sixth-grade student, said with excitement.

Ba and Theu’s idea of free weekly breakfast has received a lot of praise from friends, colleagues, and others from throughout Vietnam, some of whom have even offered financial support to help maintain the weekly event.

Nguyen Van Hung, headmaster of Dung Hop Middle School, said that poor students and their families were very touched by Ba and Theu’s kindness and that the couple had set an example of nobility for other teachers to follow.

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