As the youngest child in a poor family with four siblings, Vinh sympathizes with the poor students who have great dream of going to school. Two of Vinh’s siblings had to drop out of school at the ninth grade to work to help his family. To avoid going destitution, Vinh’s mother had to sell corn and sticky rice while his grandmother transported goods by pedicab to raise him. As a child in a tough position, he valued his education and helping his family sell goods.
Since his graduation in 2014, Vinh worked as an administrative controller for the A Dot border guard station. Every day since, Vinh spends his off-hours at a nearby village to assist with civil mobilization work as well as to learn about the life of people here. The more Vinh immerses in the locals’ life, the more he sympathizes with them.
Vinh chooses a family with the most difficult circumstance to support. It’s the family of Mr. Vien Xuan Khoai and Ms. Vien Thi Lan in the A Lanh Chi village. They have 4 children. Mr. Khoai's health isn’t good, so his wife is the sole source of income for the family. Ms. Lan is always busy in the rice fields, harvesting cassava, and weaving brocade among other jobs to make ends meet. However, despite her hard work, the family only lives from hand to mouth. Children may have to drop out of schools at any time to help with the family.
Witnessing the difficulties that Khoai’s family is suffering, every month, Vinh spends VND 500.000 ($21.8) to support them.
In the spare time, Vinh teaches Khoai’s children to study. Seeing some friends of Khoai’s children wanting to be taught by him, he decided to open a small class.
Vinh also assists Khoai’s family with farming work. He helps them harvest rice and cassava. Whenever Vinh returns to his hometown (Hue), he calls for everyone to donate clothes and books to give to Khoai’s children and other children in the village.
The Vinh’s most memorable memory is the first meal with Khoai’s family. The rustic meal includes braised fish, Dua muoi (Vietnamese pickled mustard greens) and taro soup.
After eating taro soup, Vinh experienced a strange itch. Lan gave Vinh a cup of water while children joked that Vinh was a person living in the city, so he didn’t get used to eating dishes of ethnic groups.
Vinh experienced another “itchy incident”. One time when helping Khoai’s family to reap rice on the field, Vinh again felt itchy. It took several days for rashes to disappear. Fortunately, Vinh has since adjusted to life by the border.
Among Khoai’s children, Vien Xuan Hom is the smartest. After the “Accompanying children to go to school” project was kicked off all over the province, Vinh has sponsored Hom.
Receiving Vinh’s assistance, Khoai’s children have improved a lot in their studies and the family had less economic difficulities.
In late 2014, Vinh sent a report to leaders of Thua Thien Hue’s border guard force. In 2015, Major General Le Khai Ngoc invited Vinh to present at a conference of the province’s border guard.
As a result of the kindness of Vinh and his fellow soldiers, leaders decided to make a movement centered around childhood education. It is planned to be deployed all over the province and then all over the nation.
Vinh has accompanied with Khoai’s family for 6 years. Hom is now studying at a vocational college while working in Hue City. Hom has been aided with tuition fee from his school.
As a coincidence, shortly after Hom was admitted to the vocational college, Vinh was also sent to Hanoi to study economic intermediate course. Because the decision was quite urgent, Vinh had only enough time to go around the commune to say goodbye to officials and residents. Everyone was taken aback. Someone asked: "You say, does it mean that you go right away?" Pa Co ethnic people don't dare to believe that one day Vinh would leave them.