A middle-aged man in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is revered by his neighbors for the sacrifices he’s made throughout his lifetime in order to support the community.
Pham Van Cong, aka Ba Cong, a 66-year-old man living in the Mekong Delta province of Bac Lieu, has spent more than a half of his life helping low-income neighbors overcome their personal hardships.
Cong first entered the workforce at the age of 11 when he took on a job as a housekeeper in order to support his family.
Since then he has taken on a plethora of jobs, including selling small goods and manufacturing ice.
But even as he went through his own personal struggles to make ends meet, he made it his own personal priority to share what he had with those around him.
There was a time he even borrowed money in order to donate a hundred blankets to local poor people and senior citizens during a severe cold spell.
Cong later built up his savings in order to establish two cold-storage units to lease in order to make enough money to help provide accommodation for those in need.
“I cannot hold back my tears when I see people suffer from life’s hardships just like I once did,” Ba Cong explained.
He has also donated money to build a cemetery for the poor named “Tu Thien” (Charity) and even paid for funeral procedures for those whose family could not afford it.
Ba Cong said that the inspiration or Tu Thien came from the fact that he is unable to locate his own great grandmother’s grave due to her careless burial.
Tu Thien is meant to help improved local residents avoid his own situation.
|Ba Cong helps a man light an incense to pray for his deceased family member at “Tu Thien” cemetery. Photo: Tuoi Tre|
Hoang Thi Thuong, Cong’s neighbor, expressed her gratitude towards Ba Cong for financially supporting her with her husband’s burial procedures.
“He was our savior and I’m still thankful to this day,” the 62-year-old woman said.
Ba Cong’s only wish is to maintain his health so that he can continue working and helping those in need.
“He has a heart made of love and sympathy that is unmatched,” said Le Quoc Anh, the vice chairman of a local people’s committee where Ba Cong lives.
Cong has donated money to build houses and bridges, over five tons of rice, scholarships to the poor for the past few years, and even has plans to purchase an ambulance.
He’s also was even presented with certificates in 2015 and 2017 for his charitable endeavors by the Vietnamese prime minister.