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Toward 50th anniversary of War Invalid Day (27th July)


Great joy and happiness of that war invalid man


In April 1997 at the war hospital in Base 3, Prof. Nguyen Trinh Co, Army Doctor of Regiment 37 wrote the story “Brother Ngoc” which was published on the newspaper “Happy to Live” of Army Health Service. After he had finished operation of cutting the whole left arm of a brave 12-year message carrier who dared to send fight message to army units alone. Then the story was published on “Sunshine” collection of revolutionary and war poems and stories.  “Brother Ngoc” story resulted in sensational feeling among youth and teenagers and encouraged them to fight for national independence and freedom.

As hundred of soldier, after being wounded Brother Ngoc himself tried to forget his wounds to study and work, develop to meet new demands. Unexpectedly, I have recently met “Brother Ngoc” (his real name is Mr. Trinh Ngoc Trinh) when he prepared to come Bac Kan province for implementing hunger eradication and poverty reduction project in a highland commune. And I am surprised to know that he is still working for Highland Education Development Organization (HEDO for abbreviation).

With only one arm, no matter which job he has namely teacher in mountainous provinces of Lai Chau and Son La, at Central Highland Teacher Training College and at Ha Noi Teacher Training University or cadre of Central Youth Union or Director of HEDO that war invalid man is always hard-working, whole-hearted, enthusiastic and maintains good characteristic of Uncle Ho’s soldier during the past 50 years.

As having taught and closed with highland and ethnic minority pupils and people for a long time, the war invalid teacher fully understands their difficulties. He wishes to do everything he can in order to reduce their heavy load and bring brightness and happiness to them. During the past 7 years, his footprints have marked in most highland provinces and districts in the North, Central and South of Vietnam. So far, HEDO has been implementing over 60 projects in mountainous and ethnic minority areas, which partly show his ability of community communication. He, local leaders and international friends are so happy that they overflow tear when projects enter into daily life namely workshops, laboratories and libraries of Yen Bai Highland Ethnic Minority Boarding School; Kindergarten in Bac Ha district Lao Cai province; Leprosy clinic in Van Lem commune, Dakto district, Kontum province. His organization is proud to cooperate with other organizations to train over 40 masters in mountainous areas, send hundreds of ethnic minority students and cadres to study and improve qualification abroad etc. It also in cooperation with Britain-Vietnam Friendship Society to send 20 British volunteer teachers to work at Foreign Language centers in highland provinces.

As HEDO is a non-governmental organization without government financial support, he has to work very hard. In order to receive a project from an international organization, it is necessary to combine 3 factors: Local - International Organization - Creative Ability of organization. He has to travel four to five to get a project approved. His time is always busy but he learns English by himself, directly communicate with foreign friends. He learns at any time and anywhere. The determined war invalid man has had five accidents for 7 years of travelling in all walks of mountainous areas. One time, he fell when he was climbing to meet H’Mong ethnic people in bordering Can Ho commune as the road was too sleep and slippery. Because he has only one arm he could not ward off so he rolled on the sleep. Despite being hurt, he with colleagues visited people and village in time. A lot of foreigner accompanying with him to supervise and start projects across Sky Gate (Lao Cai province), Gravo col (Lai Chau province), Ma Pi Leng (Ha Giang province) asked “Why aren’t you afraid of travelling so dangerous roads? He have honest smile and answered “ You are foreigner but you still come here to help our people, why am I afraid? We both reach poor areas to do humanitarian work for poor people”. Being whole-hearted for highland - it is great joy and happiness of that war invalid man.

Written by Trinh Van Quy

© Highland Education Development Organisation (HEDO) 2001
4 Trinh Hoai Duc, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: +84 4 7345292 / 7345293, Fax: +84 4 7345293