A Vietnamese man for 20 years has been taking care of around 200 children with disabilities across the country regardless of his own low living condition.
Tran Hoang Minh, a 77-year-old Hanoi native, now lives in a small house in Ho Chi Minh City with his relatives and seven people with physical challenges.
Minh left Hanoi at the age of 11 to start a new life in the southern metropolis.
He had been doing many jobs to earn a living until 1999 when he decided to open the ‘Mua Xuan’ (The Spring) community center to provide accommodation as well as job orientation for children with disabilities, one of whom was well-known Vietnamese disabled athlete Nguyen Thi Minh Ly.
After learning about Ly’s living condition, Minh traveled all the way to her hometown in the Mekong Delta province of Tien Giang and took her to Saigon to learn silk painting, for which he footed all the expenses.
Minh’s house was gradually filled with laughter of children with disabilities across Vietnam whom he supported from vocational training to job seeking by the little money he got from making interior designs and fixing household appliances.
“My house was once crowded with up to 30 children, but I find happiness in taking care of underprivileged people,” he said.
Minh also afforded swimming courses and took care of the transportation for his non-biological children to improve their health condition as well as boost their confidence through competitions for the disabled.
|Tran Hoang Minh teaches Vi Thi Hang to use his exclusive swimming training tool. Photo: My Lang / Tuoi Tre|
His effort paid off when Minh Ly, along with two other children named Nguyen Thi Sa Ri and Vi Thi Hang, all became talented athletes that brought home many valuable trophies and prestigious awards from international swimming competitions for people with disabilities.
“I’m very proud of their achievements and determination to overcome life limitations,” said Minh in happiness.
Minh has no wife or children, but there are some 200 people, young and old, who dearly call him father
Hang, a member in the club for disabled swimming athletes in Ho Chi Minh City, expressed her gratitude towards ‘father Minh’ for his kindness to have supported them financially for the past seven years and even invented an exclusive training tools to help them practice swimming.
She also said that her ‘father’ lives a simple life with same old stuff and always spends his savings on providing his ‘children’ without purchasing anything new for himself.
“He isn’t our biological father but he treated us as if he was,” she said.
Truong Y Nhi, another ‘daughter’ of Minh, shared that he always shared things he had with them even when many of his ‘children’ had got married and had their own lives to take care of.
“He doesn’t have much money, but he has an invaluable heart made of gold,” she said.