79 year old farmer donates VND2.4 billion to build school
  • | | January 05, 2010 09:23 AM

“I want to spend my money to build a school for children as it’s my investment for our future generation..."

Nguyen Van Thuyet and the new infant school that his family invested VND 2.4 billion ($130,000) to help build

A story from a meeting with Uncle Ho

We visited Chon Thanh town (Chon Thanh district, Binh Phuoc province) on a quiet, warm day at the year's end. Everyone knows the house of Nguyen Van Thuyet who is a very well-respected man in the community who made a honourable donation to build an infant school.

When we came to his house, he was tidying up the school, named Sao Mai. He is also in charge of ensuring the security of the school here.

He looks quite sound in mind and body at the age of 79. He has white hair and bright eyes. Mr. Thuyet began to tell us about his life and wishes.

Born in Hanoi, his father died when he was 16, then he moved to Hoa Binh due to difficult times and the war. In Hoa Binh province, he applied to work as a cleaner for the Board of Management at a colliery here.

One day, the colliery welcomed a delegation to visit and this 16 year old boy was approached by an old man with white hair and unforgettable eyes.

He reminisced, “That aged man asked me if I worked hard. He advised me to exert myself to complete tasks in any and all circumstances. Then he asked me, 'What do you want to do for your future generation?' A few days later, the leader of the colliery informed me that the old man was Uncle Ho."

Thuyet looked quite thoughtful for a while before he continued, “I was very surprised to know that and felt so privileged to meet Uncle Ho, who was very friendly and simple. His advice has always remained on my mind."

“At that time, I thought that being a teacher would help people the most, however, I had no qualifications so I could not teach in order to help people. Then I asked myself what I could do for the others? And Uncle Ho’s advice strongly urged me to endeavour myself to establish a school for children," Thuyet added.

Building a school fulfills an old man's greatest wish

After his time at the collier, Thuyet moved to Binh Long rubber farm in Binh Phuoc province as a worker due to the separation of the war. He was no longer able to keep in touch with his relatives. He got married with a local girl and they eventually had 11 children.

Thuyet never forgot his wish to build a school for children. He shared, “When I met my wife, I never told her father that I would like to build a school to contribute to the education system."

In 2006, his family received a land compensation of VND 3.8 billion ($205,000) and he spent VND 2.4 billion ($130,000) to make his wish come true.

On April 3, 2009, the groundbreaking ceremony of Sao Mai infant school was officially started. He has been very busy as he is the owner, supervisor and guard of the project.

At present, Sao Mai infant school has completed 2 rows of houses (8 rooms) and this school has been handed over to the local Education Department.

This school is the wish of Nguyen Van Thuyet’s life.

When asked if he regretted his big investment, he quickly responded, “I could never regret a contribution to the education and careers of the future generation."

When I visited Thuyet, his wife, named Pham Thi Ngoc, 61, was picking “chum ruot” (a fruit to make jam). She can only make about 5 kilos of jam and sell it at 50 thousand dong per kilo each week; she often earns about 3 hundred thousand dong per week for her family.

“Many people asked me why we spent our money to build a school. I think that our children are grown and I am very happy for my husband’s wish to be fulfilled."

Thuyet shared, “I want to do one great and significant thing before I die. And now I am looking forward to seeing the day children go to school. It’s everything that I want”.

With the devoted achievements for the development of the national education career. On November 20, 2009, Nguyen Van Thuyet was cited for his contribution by the Vietnam Study Encouragement Department in Hanoi. Thuyet had met the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education , Nguyen Thien Nhan and the former Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of Vietnam Study Encouragement Department, Nguyen Manh Cam.