With the thought that her children were lucky enough to go to school, Be decided to open a class, believing that other disadvantaged children should have the same opportunities.
At first, Be’s daughter-in-law, Tran Thi Hong Thi, 48, from the south-central province of Binh Thuan, had to knock on doors to persuade parents to bring their kids to the free classroom.
The class has gradually become so popular that a growing number of families are taking their children to the classroom, including some children with mental problems.
Thi is a former student of a pedagogical university in Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province.
After graduating and getting married, she could not follow a career in teaching because of personal reasons.
With her background in education, coupled with the support from her mother-in-law, Thi has become the main teacher of the free class for the past six years.
During the daytime, Be and Thi work as tailors to earn a living and also prepare meals for all the family members.
In the afternoon, Be helps Thi take care of her children, so the daughter-in-law can have time for teaching.
The free class opens at 4:30 pm every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
Despite the ‘fixed’ schedule, students are welcomed to come and ask questions anytime.
Some were sent to the ‘class of teacher Thi’ when they were still three or four years old.
A few older children, who are now elementary students, still come to the class after school to gain more knowledge.
They consider the class their second home.
Even though not all of Thi’s students come from poverty, she teaches all of her classes for free.
“I am extremely happy to be understood and supported by my mother-in-law, who encouraged me to overcome my initial hesitation to teach the children,” Thi told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.
“The main problems to me are the students’ ages are various and today’s learning programs have also changed very much.
"So, I must improve my knowledge and skills via media and books, sometimes I even have to ask our students to adjust my lessons properly.
"Seeing them studying hard makes me really happy."
As she is a senior now and has no teaching skills, she can only instruct the children on simple numbers and characters, according to Be.
“My daughter-in-law plays a key role in the class; I only take care of them," said the old woman.
"I feel happy to lend her a hand to teach the children."
|Le Thi Be (front) and her daughter-in-law Tran Thi Hong Thi are doing their jobs as tailors during the daytime before becoming teachers of disadvantaged children in the afternoon at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Children are studying in the free-of-charge classroom at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be welcomes a boy to the free classroom in the afternoon at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Tran Thi Hong Thi shows a book page during the class where she instructs poor children for free four days a week at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Children are studying in the free-of-charge classroom. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be cares for Tran Thi Hong Thi’s child while Thi is holding a boy’s hand (unseen) to help him write properly during a class at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Le Thi Be helps her daughter-in-law teach some simple calculations to a boy during a class at her house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|After free-of-charge classes in the afternoon, the mother and daughter-in-law share a cozy and happy dinner at their house in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre|