Going Back to School

August 9, 2012 • Vietnam

By Ma Thi Ay, beneficiary of a Samaritan’s Purse education project in Vietnam

My family is a poor one. There were many years we had bad crops, and all we had to eat were sweet potatoes and boiled corn. Sometimes my parents had to go to the forest in the early morning to gather firewood to sell, or they would carry stones on their backs to earn money to buy rice.

One of my aunts worked so hard that she became exhausted, got sick, and passed away in 2009.

My paternal grandfather also got diseases and departed this world in 2011. Now there are only eight members in my family. My older brother stopped going to school after the ninth grade and stayed at home to help my parents with their work.

I am the second child in my family and have two younger siblings who are going to school. My youngest sibling is in the ninth grade now, and my younger sibling is in the 11th grade, studying at a school in the Lao Cai Province.

I started to think that I also needed to study to prepare for my future in order to help my family.

Then my mother fell sick. I wanted to stay at home to look after her, but my brother and sister-in-law did not want me to do so. I took great pity on my mother, but did not dare say anything to my older brother and his wife. My siblings and I are not bold enough to talk back to them because there were times when we were not allowed to eat because we did not obey them.

They encouraged me to get married instead and to start my own family. But my mother advised me to go to Hoa Sua School to study, so I decided to start my education. I did not take anything with me to school, not even the encouragement of my older brother and his wife.

On the first day school I didn’t know anyone. However, I soon found friends who were members of the H’mong ethnic group like me. My feelings of self-pity lessened when I recognized that I had friends who shared the same types of struggles. Then they told me that there was an organization called Samaritan’s Purse that was willing to support students who are members of ethnic minorities in Lao Cai, Lai Chau, and Hoa Binh.

I thought, ‘How lucky am I that I belong to this group!’ I became very happy to receive help from Samaritan’s Purse. The staff taught me life skills, like how to communicate, how to control emotions, and how to set goals.

Samaritan’s Purse also gave me opportunities to go and visit many beautiful places. Through these activities, my knowledge about life improved and I began to feel closer to the staff who were a part of Samaritan’s Purse. I also got the opportunity to receive a monthly scholarship to buy personal items and study tools for school.

What I desire the most is that I will study hard and have good results so that I can get a good job to help provide for my parents—especially for my mother to get medicine to help her recover from diseases.

Although I don’t receive love from my older brother and his wife, I have the love of my new brothers and sisters at Samaritan’s Purse. So I feel very happy.

I do not need to worry anymore about anything. I will try my best to make my dreams come true. I am very grateful to Samaritan’s Purse for giving me the help to go to school.