Loan is the eldest of 4; she lives in a very small house in the rubber plantation. Far from the school, isolated in the plantation, and when it rains of course the path is just mud. Life is tough and in this family one survives with less than 30 cents € per person per day. Loan belongs to the poorest of the poor in Vietnam. The family has no land and her parents are just daily laborers. Not every day, only when they can find work, and when they cannot it is a lot worse. The family has no other source of income, and they are 6. But Loan is passionate about her studies, she in grade 3. She knows about poverty and she is determined to get out of it, she knows education is the key. “I study as much and as well as I can, so I have better chances to get a scholarship”.
Of course there are not enough scholarships for all the poor students. Each class has to choose the poorest among them.
I am moved, Loan is almost crying when she describes her situation. When I arrived at her house she was at work: “I feel sorry for my parents, they work so much. Often the collect pig dung to supplement the little income we have. It is used as natural fertilizer by our neighbors. We are so poor nobody really wants to give us a loan when needed, sometimes we are short of rice too.” Loan cooks for the whole family and takes care of the youngest one. “With a scholarship I can pursue my studies and buy the books. It is a source of joy for the whole family, and even for other girls like me at school”.
One of the organizers: “With the cross country for solidarity, we really increase solidarity in the villages. Last year we have collected a lot of money*. Nobody should stop going to school because they do not have the money for it”.
Nguyen Thi Ngoc Quyên (Mekong Plus in Dúc Linh), 10 May 2010
*They have thus collected 6.194 €. If one takes into account the difference in purchasing power, it is equivalent to over 62.000 € in Belgium.