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This one-legged Vietnamese student is painting her future



Determined not to let her disability stop her from reaching her goals, Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung, from Ben Tre Province in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, is pushing herself toward a bright future regardless of the hardships life throws at her.

Students at Ton Duc Thang University, located in District 7, Ho Chi Minh City, have gotten used to the girl with one leg making her way to class on weekdays.

Nhung is a first-year student of the industrial arts faculty.

Before her accident while playing, she was a boisterous child like any other.

The serious fall broke the upper bones of her right leg but the injury was taken lightly until complications developed a few months later.

Examinations showed abnormal swelling in the leg, which later turned out to be a large tumor.

The little girl’s life was derailed when her leg joints were immediately disarticulated to avoid tissue necrosis in the leg.

Instead of frolicking around just like her peers, Nhung would wind up spending the majority of her early childhood with limited mobility.

The young girl refused to give up learning to walk with crutches, despite the countless bruises and scratches she accrued from falling, and was finally able to walk on her own.

After Nhung finished middle school, her family decided she would sit out high school and find a manual job that does not require much mobility instead.

The girl’s education was spared thanks to her 9th-grade homeroom teacher, who signed her up for Doan Thi Diem High School, located in Thanh Phu District, Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, without the family’s knowledge.

Toward the end of her high school years, Nhung again found herself at a crossroads when her family tried to advise her against moving to Ho Chi Minh City to attend college.

Her parents expressed doubts regarding how she would face struggles alone, take care of herself away from home, and how to use less disabled-friendly public transport.

The thought that left Nhung most nervous at this critical point was if she would be able to land a job that matches her mental ability as well as physical disability.

Her final decision made, she did her best in her studies and was admitted to Ton Duc Thang University, where she took her first steps toward a brighter future.

“I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new experiences,” said Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung (right). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

‘I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new experiences,’ said Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung (right). Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

“I decided to pursue my education to the very end,” Nhung said.

“I want to be independent and determine my own future.

“There’re so many places I want to visit and so many things I want to learn.

“I’ll try to exceed my limits and won’t let my impairment hold me back.”

Nhung showed her painting talent quite early in her life, and art helps take away sorrows and gives back love and positive vibes while connecting her to the outside world.

When it was time to choose majors in college, she followed her passion, believing she is cut out for the job, which might not involve a lot of traveling.

Except for the beginning when her father took her to Ho Chi Minh City and helped her complete admission procedures, the physically challenged girl always tries to handle everything on her own.

When she has classes, she hops from the school dormitory, where she stays, to the halls and classrooms within the school campus, one of the city’s largest and most modern-looking.

“Now I can go anywhere within the campus,” Nhung shared proudly, adding she just needs to take an occasional rest during the long walks.

“I can reach the second floors on foot but have to use the elevator for higher ones.”

Though she just took some fundamental courses and hand-drawn painting classes in her first year, the student is well aware of hurdles ahead.

Nhung’s father, who earns a meager income as a construction worker, and her homemaking mother struggle to afford education for her and her two younger siblings.

Refusing to let her disability and poverty get in the way of realizing her dreams, Nhung forces herself to face her situation head-on while trying to save as much as she can.

As she is still unable to buy a laptop, she often borrows her friends’ or uses computers at the school libraries, also some of the city’s most well-equipped and modern, for homework.

“I’ll look for a suitable job to cover part of my tuition fees and gain new working experiences,” Nhung shared.

Nguyen Duc Hong Quang, a lecturer of the university’s faculty of industrial arts, pays special attention to Nhung during the two courses she took with him.

According to Quang, art-related fields have seen relatively fierce competition and high requirements in recent years.  

The road will even be much bumpier for students with disabilities like Nhung, he said.

“Challenges can sometimes motivate us to keep moving forward and gain unexpected accomplishments,” Quang noted.

“Nhung should keep up her persistence and determination if she is to succeed.”

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Vietnamese university provides cash for students to pay for Internet after shift to remote learning



Students of a law university in southern Vietnam will receive monetary aid totaling over US$100,000 for their switch to online learning due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The Ho Chi Minh City University of Law on Monday announced its plan to support their students who have shifted from in-person classes to remote learning because of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, the school will grant VND200,000 (US$9) to each student.

That means it will spend a total of about VND2.4 billion ($104,000) on this plan, as it now has some 12,000 students.

Learners will receive this support directly through their class president when they go back to school, the university said.

“All of our students have switched to online learning,” said Tran Hoang Hai, the school’s acting rector.

“We will notify them at least three days in advance before they are required to go to school for normal classes again.”

The cash support is aimed at helping them pay for Internet use charges during their online classes, Hai explained.

The university has conducted its online learning programs for all students since May 10, using its online training portal and Zoom software.

The higher education institution will provide students with papers they need from now until they return to normal studies, and those who have such needs are required to make online contact with the school’s academic affairs office for instructions.

“We have assigned the school’s center for business relations and student support to proceed with a plan to help students in difficult circumstances get loans to buy laptops at affordable prices for use in their online learning,” the acting rector said.

The university will try to obtain loans with deferred repayment terms and to find suppliers of computers or smartphones at the cheapest possible prices for such students, he added.

Vietnam has confirmed 1,205 domestic coronavirus infections in 26 provinces and cities since April 27, when a fourth wave broke out after the country had spent roughly a month detecting no community transmission, according to the health ministry’s data.

Ho Chi Minh City has reported only one case in this wave so far but schools and non-essential businesses have been shuttered as a safety precaution.

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In Vietnam’s Thua Thien-Hue, monk helps students prepare for life-deciding exam



A young monk from Thua Thien-Hue Province has been tutoring students in Vietnamese literature in preparation for Vietnam’s national high school graduation examination for free to nurture his passion for teaching

Every Thursday and Sunday, monk Minh Giang of Huyen Khong Pagoda in Huong Tra Town holds an afternoon class for around 20 students.

At the same time, via Facebook and YouTube, hundreds of other students nationwide attend his virtual lecture. 

Before being ordained, monk Minh Giang used to teach classes for vulnerable children in Hanoi.   

After entering the monastic life, he was urged to do something that nurtures his passion for teaching and helps students. 

“At first, I taught only monks and nuns and shared videos of my lectures on YouTube and Facebook which were warmly welcomed by students,” said monk Minh Giang. 

“Some people suggested that I ‘take one step further’ by opening an in-person, public class.

“I decided to give a try.

“It was also when students started studying online due to COVID-19.”

To maintain the class, monk Minh Giang has spent time on developing the syllabus, doing in-depth research and also updating his lectures to make them more insightful and relevant. 

Therefore, he requests his students to be hard-working, proactive, and independent in learning. 

“As I am young, I want to devote my time and energy to serving people, especially in helping students pass the exam,” he said. 

“It is my happiness.

“I am planning to offer other courses on history, geography, and civic education in the near future.”

The national high school graduation examination is held annually by the Ministry of Education and Training.

Students consider it a life-changing exam because it is also used as a college placement test.

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Ho Chi Minh City closes schools over latest COVID-19 threat



K-12 schools in Ho Chi Minh City will be closed down from Monday next week for fear of COVID-19 spread, the municipal People’s Committee said in a fiat on Thursday.

The closure is to be enforced even when only one local case has been recorded in the city since the coronavirus re-emerged in Vietnam last week.

Preschools will shut down from Monday while other levels will switch to remote learning, according to the fiat.

The 2020-21 school year is scheduled to end within this month in accordance with a plan by the People’s Committee.

More than 91,000 teachers, employees, and students left and returned to Ho Chi Minh City during a four-day holiday starting on Friday last week, the local Department of Education and Training said on Wednesday.

One employee and 14 students flew on the same flight as a COVID-19 patient in Dong Nai Province, which borders the city.

They live in Phu Nhuan District, Tan Binh District, Tan Phu District, Binh Thanh District, District 1, District 5, and Thu Duc City.

“Those people have been quarantined and had their samples taken for COVID-19 testing,” the department said.

The department has also identified 134 people who came into direct contact with these 15 and asked them to self-isolate at home.

Vietnam has confirmed 120 domestically-transmitted cases in at least 17 provinces and cities since April 27, when the virus made a comeback after the country had spent over a month detecting zero local infections, according the Ministry of Health’s data.

Only one of the patients was registered in Ho Chi Minh City.

Health workers have warned the city is at high risk as it is a busy economic hub, while border jumpers from China and Cambodia, which is grappling with severe outbreaks, have been detected there over the past few weeks.

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