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A special tutor for disadvantaged children




Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tâm instructs students in her special class in Yên Quang Commune, Ý Yên District, Nam Định Province. VNA/ Photo Nguyễn Lành

Mai Hiên

NAM ĐỊNH —  Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tâm may not have finished high school, but that doesn’t stop her teaching children in Yên Quang Commune, Ý Yên District, Nam Định Province.

Suffering from brittle bone disease (osteogenesis imperfecta), Tâm has overcome difficulties to fulfil her dream of becoming a teacher.

At the age of 30, she weighs 15kg and is confined to a wheelchair but sets a bright example for people with disabilities with a “down but not out” spirit.

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a genetic disorder meaning a person’s bones break easily. People with OI also have weak muscles and bone deformities.

Tâm can’t remember how many times she’s broken a bone, as just a change in posture can break one of her bones.

As she has aged, her health problems have multiplied to include heart, lung and stomach problems.

Due to her illness, Tâm started the first grade when she was 8.

Tâm still vividly remembers her first days at the primary school when she couldn’t do anything but sit and listen to her teacher.

Seeing his daughter struggle to study every day, Tâm’s father decided to help her learn and after only two days, she could memorise the alphabet. Since then, with an extraordinary will, she has been an outstanding student.

Despite her eagerness to study, Tâm was forced to drop out of education after graduating from secondary school as her family couldn’t afford a motorbike to bring her to the high school that was 15km away from home. In the meantime, her health was worsening.

Undeterred, Tâm decided to fulfil her dream in her own way – opening a free classroom to tutor students from the first to eighth grade who live nearby or anyone who needs her help.

“Working as a teacher is difficult for normal people, but it is 10 times harder for people with disability like Tâm,” said Nguyễn Thanh Sự, Tâm’s mother.

Sự said she felt sorry for her daughter after seeing how hard she worked.

Over the past 16 years, hundreds of students have been taught by Tâm. As her reputation spread, people from more than 20km away started to come to her classroom – a class with five ‘nos’ (no chalk, no blackboard, no podium, no lesson plan and no fee). However, it is always full of love.

To enrich her knowledge, Tâm has bought many books and learned teaching techniques. Her family also gives a helping hand by preparing lunch for those who live far away.

Nguyễn Thành Nam, a local student, said he goes to Tâm’s class twice a week. 

“I find it interesting. We have a lot of fun,” he told VTV.

Nguyễn Vũ Long, another student, said although the way Tâm taught was quite different from other teachers with no blackboard, he liked learning in her class, adding that it was easier for him to understand.

A lot of memories of her students fill her mind but one stands out.

“It was early 2018, a child with mental problems was admitted to my class. The student could not recognise or memorise the alphabet.

“Knowing that the child liked drawing, I thought of ways to associate letters with pictures of animals,” she said. And it worked.

After learning with Tâm, the child is now able to read and write.

When asked whether it is difficult to keep going without collecting a fee from the students, Tâm said: “Actually I think if we think it is difficult then it will be difficult … As long as my health is strong enough and the students still love me, I will continue my journey.”

To help disadvantaged students, Tâm has set up a study encouragement fund. 

Although the gifts are just humble books and pens, they encourage students to strive academically. 

The funding mainly comes from her online work, writing poems and short stories for newspapers.

Her efforts have paid off as many students from her class have enrolled in universities in Hà Nội.

Tâm loves reading as much as learning and teaching and she often asks for old books from others.


Besides tutoring the students, writing poems is also one of Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tâm’s hobby. Photo courtesy of Nguyễn Thị Ngọc Tâm

She now has a small library with more than 1,500 books of different fields ranging from textbooks to comics.

“I live in a rural area, so I understand the importance of a library to people here. I hope that students can grasp more knowledge beyond school textbooks.”

“Books are a treasure trove of knowledge,” Tâm said.

Each student in her class is guided to choose books that were suitable for their age.

Tâm has also worked with private libraries to exchange books to diversify the selection for readers.

Nguyễn Thị Hoan, chairwoman of Yên Quang Commune’s Women Association, said despite having difficulties in daily life, Tâm managed to improve knowledge for local students.

“Tâm does not only give them more knowledge in learning but also how to behave with other people to make them more perfect and become useful people for society,” she said.

Despite her poor health, Tâm is still active in charitable activities and takes part in exchange programmes, calling on other people to overcome their difficulties and do good deeds for society.

As she said: “It does not matter how long we live, it is important that we lead a life of value, bringing happiness to others”.  —




HCMC reports another coronavirus case



HCMC reports another coronavirus case

The building where two Covid-19 suspects work on Pasteur Street, HCMC’s District 3 is isolated on May 18, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.

A woman working with a man who tested positive for the new coronavirus on Tuesday morning has also got infected, HCMC Health Department announced.

Her first test result arrived as positive Tuesday night after the city tracked down 59 people who have had contact with the 35-year-old man who lives in Thu Duc City, works at an auditing company District 3, and has tested positive at least twice.

According to the city’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the woman, 34, lives in Tan Kieng Ward of District 7 and also works at the auditing company.

She had visited northern Hai Phong City, a coronavirus hotspot, from April 24 to May 5.

She flew back to HCMC on May 5 on Vietnam Airlines flight VN1179 and ran a fever three days later. She bought medicine to treat herself and did not have her health checked at any healthcare facilities.

She took sick leave for three days after that and returned to work on May 11.

The city is tracing down passengers on the flight and people that have come into close contact with her.

The Thu Duc man has not been recorded by the Health Ministry as a Covid-19 patient.

He had visited Vinmec Hospital on Monday for symptoms including fever, coughing and sore throat and then his samples were taken for testing.

His mother, wife and two children who live with him have tested negative at least once.

For the ongoing Covid-19 wave that broke out in Vietnam three weeks ago, the health ministry has confirmed just one patient in HCMC. No new local transmission has been linked to the city for 75 days.

Nationwide, the new wave has seen 1,473 cases recorded in 28 cities and provinces.


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New Covid-19 cases continue to surge in Bac Giang



A medical worker handles test tubes containing samples for Covid-19 testing. Vietnam reported 48 new domestic Covid-19 cases on Tuesday evening – PHOTO: MINISTRY OF HEALTH

HCMC – Thirty-three out of 48 new domestic Covid-19 cases confirmed this evening, May 18, were detected in Bac Giang, keeping the northern province the biggest Covid-19 hotspot in the fourth Covid-19 wave.

The new cases in the province are people that had close contact with Covid-19 patients and had been quarantined before testing positive.

The province accounted for more than half of today’s Covid-19 tally, with 96 cases out of the country’s total of 152.

Among the remaining cases, 13 were reported in Bac Ninh Province, while Dien Bien and Thai Binh provinces had one case each. They were detected at quarantine centers or areas that are currently under lockdown.

Up to now, Vietnam has reported 4,512 Covid-19 cases, including 1,473 domestic infections in 28 cities and provinces in the latest outbreak starting late last month.

Bac Giang and Bac Ninh have been hit the hardest by the fourth Covid-19 wave, with 507 and 306 cases to date, respectively.

The Ministry of Health has asked some frontline hospitals and the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology to help Bac Giang Province with Covid-19 testing. The province is now capable of performing some 1,500 Covid-19 tests a day.

Many localities such as Hanoi, Quang Ninh, Yen Bai and Hai Duong have sent medical workers and equipment to Bac Giang to help the province fight off Covid-19.

For Bac Ninh Province, the Health Ministry has asked Bach Mai Hospital to send experts and mechanical ventilators to Bac Ninh Province General Hospital to assist the hospital in treating Covid-19 patients and restrict sending patients to the National Hospital for Tropical Diseases.


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Married Vietnamese couple probed for trading large amount of personal data



Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security has initiated legal proceedings against a married couple who own an IT company for collecting and trading a large amount of personal data.

Officers confirmed on Monday they had begun probing Du Anh Quy, 33, and his wife – 29-year-old Lai Thi Phuong – for illegally exploiting information on computer and telecommunications networks.

Fifteen others are also being investigated for being involved in a ring that appropriated and traded a large amount of data in many provinces and cities.

Police investigation showed that VNIT TECH, owned by Quy and Phuong, operated in the field of information technology.

Since 2020, the couple had illegally collected, appropriated, and purchased nearly 1,300GB of data containing information of individuals and organizations nationwide.

The personal data relates to many fields, namely electricity service customers, parents, students, bank customers, business registration information, state agency personnel, insurance, household registration, telecommunications data, mobile phone subscribers, electronics customers, and customers of real estate projects, among others.

Lai Thi Phuong is in this photo provided by police officers.

Lai Thi Phuong is shown in this photo provided by police officers.

The data was publicly sold on many websites, accounts, pages, and groups on social networks such as Facebook, Zalo, and Telegram, as well as hacker forums.

Members of the ring also offered warranty policy and the capacity to update and extract the data at the request of buyers.

The data was collected from many sources and by many different methods, including by taking advantage of administration rights of information systems at some agencies and businesses.

Many buyers were individuals and businesses operating in such fields as insurance, foreign language teaching, and real estate, according to police officers.

Businesses that owned the stolen data showed the lack of responsibility in the management of their customers’ information and data, the officers said.

They also took no action although their customers’ information and data were sold publicly for a long time.

Some of them showed signs of providing customers’ information and data for a third party for illicit profits, officers stated.

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