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  21/11/2023

Volunteer Perspective: Shaping the Path of Children’s Education

Even though it was their first time handling shovels, their hands and feet swollen, bodies sweating under the scorching sun, the young volunteers didn’t rest but kept digging the soil, mixing cement, giving their all to pave the way for children to go to school.

The 150-meter dirt road section through An Vinh village, Song Phan commune, Ham Tan district (Binh Thuan) with gravel and sinkholes had long been a source of inconvenience for the local residents. Especially, this is a crucial route leading to a soon-to-be-constructed preschool. Under the green uniforms, the volunteer team from Green Summer Volunteers of Ho Chi Minh City National University joined hands to create a straight concrete road for the people.

Volunteer students, undaunted by difficulties, worked under the blazing sun to construct the 150-meter-long road, making it more convenient for the people and students to travel.

Enduring the scorching sun

Accompanied by a local volunteer on a borrowed old motorbike, we traveled more than 13 km through dragon fruit fields to reach the construction site.

The team allocated here consists of 25 volunteers divided into 2 working shifts, morning (from 8 – 11 am) and afternoon (from 1:30 – 5 pm). Most of them are students who have never wielded a shovel before, so they are prone to exhaustion due to unfamiliar heavy work.

With dirt still sticking to their bodies from carrying over a dozen bags of cement, Nguyen Van Doan, a student at Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, shared, “”””I’m used to typing on a computer all day, so the first time carrying bags of cement and digging soil, my hands and feet trembled, and by the evening, I was soaking wet. But knowing that this road will make it more convenient for the kids to go to school made me forget the fatigue.””””

Due to the lack of shelter and shade in the operating area, every day the volunteers worked under the blazing sun, with their bodies always soaked in sweat and their faces flushed. But this didn’t dampen their spirits.

Lê Tiến Phát, a student at the Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, says, “”””I’m only afraid of rainy days because even though the scorching sun can be tough, we can endure it. But when it rains, there’s nothing we can do. The weather in Binh Thuan is quite unusual; it’s sunny during the day, but in the evening, heavy rain floods many areas. So, we have to rush to get tarpaulin, sand, cement, or anything to protect our materials.””””

When asked about the most challenging aspect, Trần Minh Thuận, the team leader of the construction team here, explains, “”””This road is very rugged, with uneven terrain, rocks, and many places are deeply sunk. When we first arrived and saw the local residents struggling to move around, we were very concerned. Everyone in the team is determined to complete this road as soon as possible.””””

Safer Journeys for Children to School

As one of the households that donated a 4 km road to the community, 63-year-old Lê Thị Kim Bích, residing at 137, An Vinh Hamlet, says, “”””The road is all gravel and full of deep potholes, so whenever there’s heavy rain, water floods into our homes. The road is so muddy that it’s impossible to walk on. In the past, our family just bought sand to pour on it temporarily, so when we heard that volunteers were coming to build the road, we were very happy.””””

On Youth Volunteer Day for road construction, Bích also lent a hand in clearing trees and hauling bags of cement because she felt sorry for the students. “”””The students who came to work on the road were enthusiastic and hardworking. Looking at the clean and beautiful road now, without the rough terrain and rocks, makes us really happy. Some of them are the same age as my grandchildren, so I can see how hard they work. I wanted to help,”””” says Bích.

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From a rugged dirt road, thanks to the efforts of volunteers, it has now become a straight concrete road.

Similar to Bích, 38-year-old Lê Thị Mỹ Hòa, a security guard at Sông Phan 2 Primary School (An Vinh Hamlet), is also delighted that the road near her home is being constructed and repaired.

“”””Because the road is filled with water from the mountains during heavy rains, it gets flooded, and walking on it is dangerous. In recent days, the students who came to help have built a new road, and my family has also provided them with food and bathing facilities because the entire team is made up of young men, and we were worried they wouldn’t know how to cook or eat healthily,”””” says Hòa.

Nguyễn Bảo Minh, the team leader of the 2023 Green Summer Campaign Volunteer Team of Ho Chi Minh National University, says this is the first time that a team of volunteers from Ho Chi Minh National University is working together in Hàm Tân, Bình Thuận.

The team will undertake projects such as converting a rural road into concrete with a length of 150 meters, setting up a children’s library at Sông Phan 1 Primary School (Tân Hòa Hamlet, Sông Phan Commune, Hàm Tân) with 8 computers worth a total of 80 million VND, visiting and giving gifts to families with social policies and poor households worth a total of 20 million VND, providing scholarships to underprivileged students worth a total of 30 million VND, and various social welfare and rural development activities.

Trần Phú Loan, 50 years old, the Party Secretary of An Vinh Hamlet, explains that this road is the starting point for an important inter-communal road and also the central point for building a kindergarten with over 100 children.

“”””You all work with great discipline, enthusiasm, and close cooperation with the [local youth union](https://thanhnien.vn/doan-thanh-nien-co-nhieu-san-choi-mien-phi-185230703150810491.htm). On this road, there are more than 20 households, and the majority of them are Jrai ethnic people engaged in agriculture and facing many difficulties. Completing this road will make it easier for them to travel, and in the future, preschool children will have a safer journey to school,”””” says Loan.

(Source: Thanh Nien Newspaper)

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