Hanoi charity volunteer helps poor woman gives birth in ramshackle home

By Phan Duong   August 1, 2021 | 02:30 am PT
While no one else knew what to do with the woman in labor, Bui Doan Cong rushed over to cradle the baby's head as it came out.

Cong, 27, a volunteer at the Hanoi charity that assists women and children in crises, Blue Dragon Children's Foundation, received a phone call from someone on Saturday evening saying there was a pregnant woman in labor needing to be taken to hospital immediately.

Because of Hanoi’s stringent 15-day social distancing campaign, the people just stood and watched and did know what to do besides being wary of the risk of Covid infection.

He picked up the phone and was about to dial an emergency number when he heard the sounds of a baby crying coming from the room.

The 32-year-old mother and her newborn son are in stable health and are being monitored at the hospital in Hanoi. Photo courtesy of Blue Dragon.

The mother and her baby after arriving to the hospital thanks to Bui Van Cong’s help. Photo courtesy of Blue Dragon.

Cong says: "I ran in and saw the pregnant woman was already on the floor and the baby's head had [come out and] touched the ground. I rushed over to support the baby's head. A few minutes later the baby's legs came out completely."

In a corner of the room, under the crumbling corrugated roof, the woman's two daughters were huddled together with a scary look on their pale faces.

He wrapped the newborn in blankets and held him on his lap, sitting next to his mother because the umbilical cord was still attached. He called an ambulance and called his organization to ask for a woman volunteer.

He then started to talk with the woman and her daughters. After three years as a social worker who rescues children living on the streets, it was not difficult for him to strike up a conversation to help relieve her pain and keep her awake while waiting for the doctor.

Some 25 minutes later an ambulance arrived to take the mother and baby to hospital. The older daughter accompanied her mother along with the woman volunteer, and Cong took the other girl to a safe place to stay until her mother returned from hospital.

Though the delivery was premature, the mother and child are stable.

Cong says the family is one of hundreds affected by Covid-19 that his foundation has been supporting. The 32-year-old woman, who worked as a day laborer, lost her job in April, while her husband is in prison.

Four months ago Blue Dragon knew about the family’s plight and has since been providing them with rice, noodles, food, and accommodation.

Cong talks to a man and his 3-year-old baby at Long Bien bus station  mid-July 2021 and supports him with accommodation. Photo courtesy of Blue Dragon.

Cong talks to a homeless man and his three-year-old child at Long Bien bus station and offers him accommodation. Photo courtesy of Blue Dragon.

Earlier, in February, he had helped another woman give birth safely.

He saw the pregnant woman and her husband sleeping on the street late one night. He says: "We thought that if we could help these people, they and the newborn baby would have better chance of survival. So we rented a house for the couple to live in and provided them with food and drink. The baby was born 10 days later and is healthy."

The fourth wave of Covid-19, which began on April 27, has hit the poor and working people hard and forced many children into the streets to earn a living.

In the past few days Cong and his colleagues have seen children rummaging through trash cans looking for something to eat or waiting for people to finish eating before running to get the leftovers. In addition to the many other dangers of living on the streets, young homeless people now also face the risk of infection.

Because of that Cong's team is out on the streets day and night. In the last one month they have rescued 28 babies, double the usual number.

Do Duy Vi, chief outreach officer at Blue Dragon, says: "Employees follow preventive measures and are equipped with face masks and gloves. We carry food, clothes, masks, disinfectants to provide emergency support for people we encounter on the road."

When they see a child wandering around with a cough or fever, the team immediately contacts the nearest epidemic prevention agency for instructions.

In Cong’s backpack when he heads out on the streets these days are also books and toys to give to poor children he meets.

He is happy he could help the woman delivery her child safely and is proud of the work he is generally doing.

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