No limbs, but 8-year-old girl’s will finds a way

By Hoang Hanh   November 6, 2018 | 03:01 pm GMT+7
No limbs, but 8-year-old girl’s will finds a way
Thao holds her pen in her mouth as she studies. Photo by VnExpress/Bao Hung

An 8-year-old girl born without arms and legs is studying hard to become a doctor in southern Vietnam.

Tran Hieu Thao is a very good student. She is also a dutiful granddaughter who helps her grandma with chores around the house.

She works hard and wants to become a doctor and treat her grandma and other poor people.

Thao’s determination has won the admiration of not just her grandmother and her teachers, but of her community as a whole.

The doughty girl has to deal with a severe congenital handicap as she pursues her dreams.

She was born with no functional limbs, just stumps for hands and legs.

Her father died in an accident before she was a year old, and her mother went to work in another province to earn a living.

For Thao to do well in school with her handicap under such circumstances is a stupendous feat.

As a result she is loved and admired by everyone in An Thanh 2 Commune, Cu Lao Dung District, the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang.

I want to go to school

Her grandmother, Ly Thi Cho, 63, said her daughter married a local man in Nha Trang City more than 10 years ago, but he died in an accident when Thao was just 10 months old.

“Since then, she has lived with my husband and me because her mother is in Binh Duong Province earning a living.”

In the first few months of pregnancy, doctors said the fetus was developing normally.

But “because my family was poor, she could not continue with her check-ups and had to work hard to make money.

“Then the baby was born without limbs,” said Cho, fighting back tears.

Holding her pen between the stump of her right arm and her face, Thao is able to write as well and as fast as her classmates. Photo by VnExpress/Phuc Hung

Holding her pen between the stump of her right arm and her face, Thao is able to write as well and as fast as her classmates. Photo by VnExpress/Phuc Hung

When she was six, Thao, seeing her friends go to school, said she wanted to go, too.

 Unable to say no, grandmother Cho took her. “For the first few months I had to sit behind and support her so that she did not fall.” 

But Thao showed great determination and began familiarizing herself with everything around her, Cho said.

At first, her teachers were in a dilemma, said Le Hoang Vinh, principal of the An Thanh 2B Elementary School.

They were not sure if they could teach a girl with such a severe handicap. At the same time, they were unable to dismiss her determination.

“Now, all the teachers and students admire Thao for her studiousness. She is exceptionally determined.”

Thao’s determination is not confined to the classroom. Wanting to relieve the burden on her grandparents, Thao learned to reduce her dependence on them.

Now, she studies by herself, takes care of all her needs on her own, and even supports her grandmother with household chores, unbelievable as it may seem.

When she writes, she holds the pen gripped between the stump of her right arm and her cheek.

Wielding a big broom between her neck and shoulder, Thao helps her grandmother sweep the houses earthen floor after returning from school. Photo by VnExpress/Phuc Hung

Wielding a big broom between her neck and shoulder, Thao helps her grandmother sweep the house’s earthen floor after returning from school. Photo by VnExpress/Phuc Hung

“In the beginning, my neck would become sore, but I have got used to it now. I am very happy I can write and draw as fast as my classmates.

“When I first started writing, my letters were very big, but now I can write just like my friends.”

Ly Thanh Thuy, a neighbor who volunteered to teach Thao, said her little student has incredible grit in spite of her physical disability. She is in third grade and does very well in school, Thuy said proudly.

Cho, moved by her granddaughter’s spirit, determination and dreams, is also determined to help Thao study for as long as she can.

 
 
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