Saigon youth provides free education for underprivileged children

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

For the last three years, 22-year-old Phan Trung Hai from District 7 of Ho Chi Minh City has been keeping a special classroom, where underprivileged students can have access to proper education, alive.  

The class was initially created and taught by Hai’s mother.

After she could not continue the work due to old age, Hai decided to stand in his mother’s place when he was still a freshman at the Ho Chi Minh City College of Transportation.

Hai has been with the class for three years since then, and he still expresses a burning passion for helping underprivileged children by sharing his knowledge and setting them up for life. 

His classroom is a small room built with the support of local authorities; its space barely fits a dozen student desks.

The desks were donated by local benefactors, but he had to pay for notebooks, textbooks, pens, rulers, and all the other necessary school supplies for the students from his own pocket, according to Hai.

In this class, Hai teaches Vietnamese, math, and ethics as he wishes the children to grow up to be well versed in words and numbers as well as the manners required to be upstanding members of the community.

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai (left) walks with his students on the way to his class for underprivileged kids in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

His students are at different educational stages of the K-12 curriculum, ranging from first to sixth grades.

In order to ensure the lessons are appropriate for all levels, Hai has to segment them very carefully. 

After three years of operation with two generations of teachers, the tiny class has delivered much-needed lessons to some 30 students whose parents could not afford to send them to conventional schools. 

“I am delighted to be able to teach the class. Despite their struggles, all the kids are eager to learn. They have motivated me to continue teaching,” Hai said.

“Every student in this class has a dream: becoming a doctor or teacher is one. The future is hard to tell but I will try my best to support and educate the children."

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

A student cleans the classroom in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai instructs a student in solving a problem in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai works in the teacher’s seat in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai teaches math in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai helps a student solve math problems in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu (right) sits with her disabled child as he is taught by Phan Trung Hai in a special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

A student (right) helps his fellow classmate with homework in this special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, underprivileged children, free education

Phan Trung Hai walks through his special class for underprivileged children in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
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