Tran Thi Hai and his husband, residing in Nui Thanh District, Quang Nam Province, central Vietnam, have used their own budget to build a boarding house and offer free shelter for underprivileged students.
The boarding house has become an address of love and nurtures the kindness and dreams of many poor students.
House of kindness
Only 10 minutes after school finishes, students ride their bicycles to return to the boarding house.
Despite being busy as a bee, both Hai and her husband try to observe students living in their boarding house and care about their studying.
“We are happy to see them going to school regularly and studying hard.
"Their families believe in us and say that their children have made progress.
"Money is not a matter to help them pursue their learning journey."
The help to the disadvantaged and the community by the family of Hai is well known in Nui Thanh Town of the namesake district.
Local authorities and associations often visit and support the boarding house.
Hai decided to use her money to build the boarding house for poor students after she and her husband did charity in remote areas and saw the difficult life of residents there.
Meanwhile, her house is nestled in the center of Nui Thanh Town and near many large schools.
Nui Thanh District is large, so many students have to travel dozens of kilometers to reach their schools, while some have to rent rooms near their schools.
Hai said she had discussed with her husband the plan to use their savings to construct the boarding house.
In June last year, a six-room boarding house with sufficient living and studying facilities was built near Hai’s house.
Each room in the boarding house measures 20 square meters.
In the beginning, many people thought that the boarding house was built for rent and poor students could not afford the rooms.
However, when the boarding house was put into use, Hai hung a banner in front of it, stating that it is free for poor students and workers.
This surprised many local residents and teachers as each student had to pay VND500,000-1 million (US$21-43) per month to rent a room in Nui Thanh. Meanwhile, Hai’s boarding house, which is beautiful and clean and has enough facilities, is free of charge.
|Students at the boarding house can keep their mind on studying without thinking of paying room rent. Photo: P.N. / Tuoi Tre|
Another way of giving
Hai and her husband have supported the community in many areas over the past many years.
They also bought an ambulance to carry patients in difficult circumstances to hospitals.
Hai said building the free-of-charge boarding house is also a way of giving. It is aimed at long-term purposes: nurturing poor students’ dreams and shortening their path to school.
More importantly, underprivileged students will see the support of others and give back when they mature.
According to Hai, all six rooms in her boarding house have been occupied by students of Nguyen Hue High School in Nui Thanh District.
The boarding house is fitted with cameras and Wi-Fi. Hai also bought new bicycles and put them in front of the boarding house so that students can use them to go to school.
Nguyen Tinh, from Tam Thanh Commune, Nui Thanh District, who is a student living in Hai’s boarding house, expressed his happiness to have safe and convenient accommodations.
Tinh’s family is poor. To go to school, he had to take a bus or travel to the school from the early morning.
After Hai’s boarding house was completed, she asked teachers to introduce students to her place.
Tinh came and received a room of which many rich students would be jealous.
Tinh said the room is spacious and comfortable, he welcomed two other disadvantaged students to the room. In the clean room, tables are put in corners, helping these poor students pursue their studying dreams.
At the end of the boarding house, Hai also prepared stoves and saucepans so that students can prepare their meals to save money.
“I’m grateful to Hai as she allows me to live [in her boarding house] at no charge and pursue my dream of going to school," Tinh said.
“She not only helps me but also sets my parents’ mind at rest when I have a safe accommodation as this is the first time I have lived far from my family."
Besides Tinh, the boarding house is now home to 18 other students. All of them were recommended by their teachers or acquaintances.
Hai gives priority to students who live far from school and face many difficulties in life but show great studying determination.
Chau Huyen Ha Tram, residing in Tam Tra Commune, Nui Thanh District, said her house is nearly 30 kilometers from her school. To reach the school on time, she had to wake up at 4:00 am and catch a bus.
Tram recalled that when coming to Nui Thanh Town for studying, she used to think of dropping out of school due to the far distance and high living costs.
“Living in the free boarding house, I’m truly happy. My mom does not have to worry about my room rentals anymore," Tram said.
“In addition, Hai and her husband take care of us, encourage and remind us to study, which urges me and other students here to try harder."
Cao Thi Anh Suong, a student from Tam Son Commune, Nui Thanh District, said she was excited when reaching the boarding house but she was also worried that the owners would later collect rentals from her. However, all rooms are free.
“We tell each other not to make noise and to keep order and go to school on time so as not to affect the boarding house owners and neighbors,” Suong said.
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