Education shouldn't come with guilt
This last month, Crazy Love Foundation invited Ly to join the Vietnam Team. She is now hired part-time by Crazy Love and serves as the bridge between the organization and the river. She is an answer to prayer and an asset beyond value to Crazy Love Foundation. Listen to her story and you will understand why.
My name is Ly. I am 21 years old and currently living in a fishing village in the Kien An Distrct of Hai Phong City.
The fishing village is a small village by the river, where people have come and lived since 1989. In the past, my family lived in a boat on the river. Living was very hard. We had no electricity, no clean water and no stable shelter. When the harsh weather of Vietnam came, I remember it being very dangerous and scary.
The main job of everyone in my village is catching fish. This is very unstable income and unpredictable with the weather and river conditions always changing. My parents and many families there are not registered in marriage and most are not literate. Many of the children here do not have birth certificates and cannot go to school.
Fortunately for us, there have been people throughout my life that have come along side us at the river. At times, the local government, social organizations and individuals have cared for us and helped us.
At the time, myself and 5 other friends my age, wanted so badly to go to school. I feel very lucky because it was that year that Ms. Huyen, the ward president, helped to issue us our birth certificates so that we could go to regular school. Although I started school a year later than my classmates, I was so happy to attend.
My greatest hope is that someday I can help my parents. They have always been my motivation, even when things got very difficult for me. When I was in grade 9, I intended to drop out of school. That wouldn’t be the first time I’d think of quitting. Sometimes the responsibility of school seems so great and compared to my difficult family circumstances, school seems frivolous and too much of a luxury. Always, when faced with the tuition bill, I’d feel the burden to quit and ease the difficulty for my parents.
But instead of making me feel guilty, they would motivate me to continue.
Last year, after so many struggles, I started college. I’m the only one I know from my fishing village to have ever gone to college. Little did I know, but my struggles would continue, and even at a larger scale now that I was in university.
Right now, I am busy working part-time to pay tuition and support myself. I work 5 hours a day, after school, and am only able to make 100,000vnd ($4.30 USD) each day. Even though I need to work, it means I don’t have time to study and I am falling behind in my classes and attendance.
Maybe this is an obstacle that most people face, but at the moment, it seems too much for me. I am afraid again of being inferior. I am afraid that I’ll let my parents down, and myself.
I’m not sure if it’s normal, but I have many dreams. I hope that my dreams do not seem silly to you, but I promised myself that in the future I’d make enough money to care for my family. My greatest dream is to treat my family to a day away from the river. Maybe Cat Ba, Haiphong. A day to forget about doing work, finding food, and responsibilities. I also want to be able to buy them a refrigerator, a washing machine, or maybe a television.
I want to thank Crazy Love tonight because you have given me the confidence to keep striving for my dream.
On the day that I was thinking of dropping out of university, I contacted Ms. Ha on the phone. I explained how sad I was to quit school, but that I didn’t see any other way. She was my academic advisor. She helped me to see things with a bigger picture in mind.
I feel that if Crazy Love hadn’t been there for me when I needed advice, that I would have dropped out. I see now that there are deeper intensions to really care for children, not just help and then forget about them.
It seems that I am very lucky. I thank the local authorities, organizations, and kind-hearted people like you for helping me and all the other children that live on the river.
I will try hard to have a better future.
I sincerely thank you,