70-year-old teacher gives poor kids an education they deserve

By Quynh Tran   November 19, 2016 | 12:00 pm PT
A story of love and dedication for Teacher's Day, November 20.

Huynh Van Phe has spent the last 20 years teaching poor students in his small home on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City.

After retiring from blue-collar jobs, Phe and his wife started classes for children who couldn’t afford formal schooling. Every day over the past two decades, the teacher, who struggles with his own hardships, has kept his door open.

With just a few students in a makeshift tent in the beginning, Phe now has around 60 students, who can take math and Vietnamese classes for just 6 U.S. cents a month.

Phe said his wife returned to her hometown for health reasons a year ago. "She told me I shouldn't visit her if I'm busy teaching the kids," he said.

His students all come from poor migrant families who move to Ho Chi Minh City hoping for a better life, but just end up struggling to make ends meet.

“My family has been here for over a year. Because my parents can’t afford to send me to school, I'm studying here. He takes really good care of us,” said 8-year-old Thuy Tien.

“I have just moved to the city. Without the legal resident status, my children can’t go to school. Thank God, we have him,” said Thanh Hang, a 35-year-old street vendor.

Phe said all children deserve education and he can't stand the idea of kids from poor families getting left behind.












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