For more than 10 years, Do Thien Thanh, nicknamed ‘Father Thanh,’ has offered gratis lessons to hundreds of underprivileged children in Binh Duong Province, southern Vietnam.
Thanh was born in Hanoi but his family moved to Binh Duong when he was young.
Over the years, Thanh began involving himself in local charity projects, and when his family moved back to Hanoi in 2016, he decided to remain in the province to continue his work.
Making dreams come true
Thanh currently serves as vice-chairman of the Binh An Ward Council of the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers’ Organization, but each day after work he travels to Ba Ap Thuong Shrine on Binh Thung 1 Street in Binh An Ward under Di An City to teach underprivileged students.
Most of his students are immigrants, disabled, or orphans.
“I teach them Vietnamese, mathematics, English, and civics,” Thanh, a graduate of Binh Duong Pedagogy College, explained.
Nguyen Thi Hong Nhanh, a third grader who attends Thanh’s class, is one of the many students who refer to the teacher affectionately as 'Father Thanh.'
“I feel so happy to study here [with Thanh], as he gives us so much useful knowledge,” Nhanh said.
|Do Thien Thanh holds a party for his students to celebrate the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 24, 2023. Photo: Supplied|
A deep love for children
Thanh’s class opens from 5:00 to 7:00 pm on weekdays. In addition to teaching his students, he also provides them with pencils, notebooks, and pens.
Mai Thi Kim Hoa, who currently lives in Binh Duong Province, has been bringing her child to Thanh’s class for the past six years.
“My child is disabled and enjoys studying in the class,” she said, adding that Thanh gives equal love to all his students, including those with disabilities.
Thanh also makes sure to bring guest teachers to his class so that his students can learn in new and exciting ways.
Nguyen Thi Tuong Vy, a teacher of English, is one of these guests.
“I live in Thu Dau Mot City, which is far from [Di An City], but I spend three sessions a week teaching such disadvantaged students [in Thanh’s class],” she said.
Some 80 students attending Thanh’s class are those who are not able to go to conventional school, said Bui Le Dong Truc, vice-chairwoman of the Di An City Council of the Ho Chi Minh Young Pioneers’ Organization.
Over the past few years, Thanh has been praised for his contribution to the community and his dedication has nurtured poor students' dreams of schooling.