|Le Thi Hoa teaches the children how to write. (Photo: VOV)
Every Saturday and Sunday morning, come rain or shine, Hoang Van Tu of Phu Nghia commune, Chuong My district, Hanoi, gets up early to go to class at Huong Lan pagoda.
At the age of 17, Tu has the cognitive ability of a 5-year-old because he has brain cancer.
“He used to feel lonely. He had no friends. When he joined Ms. Hoa’s class, he learned a lot of things. Now he can take care of himself. He is very happy and considers Ms. Hoa his second mother,” said Tu’s mother.
Hoa started teaching children with disabilities in 1997, when she taught at Dong Son primary school. At that time, realizing that many disabled children in the village couldn’t attend school because of their disability, Hoa opened a class in a 10-square-meter kitchen in her own home. At first, only 14 neighborhood children with disabilities enrolled.
When her small house was no longer able to accommodate the children, she asked the abbot of Huong Lan pagoda to host a class at the pagoda to accommodate a larger number of students.
The pagoda’s 80-square-meter classroom is divided into two sections. The first is for students with somewhat better learning ability, and the second is for students who need special care.
“There are many children with disabilities. I spend every weekend teaching them, hoping I can do something to make their lives better,” said Hoa.
Hoa now has 7 assistants who help her teach and take care of the children.
“I cried when when I first saw the children here. They suffer from many disabilities. I really admire the other teachers here, and have joined their effort to look after the children,” said Pham Thi Hieu, one Hoa’s assistants.
|Teacher Hoa and her students on an excursion. (Photo: VOV)
After 20 years, Hoa’s efforts have paid dividends. The class is now a place where 60 students are finding happiness and love.
“I’m happy when I see my students grow up and become more mature. It’s well worth the effort. I feel like I’m sowing good seeds in life,” said Hoa.