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Tien Phong Newspaper > Economy and Society
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

"A hunger eradication and poverty reduction project
In mountainous bac kan province"

On 3rd June 1997, Prof. Trinh Ngoc Trinh -Director of HEDO, Vice Chairman of Bac Kan People’s Committee and Mr. Daniel Shepherd - Representative of British Embassy have finished the last monitoring visit of project “Animal rearing for hunger eradication and poverty reduction” code 0062 in Cuong Loi commune of Na Ri district, Bac Kan province. British Embassy funded 10,000 USD for this project.

HEDO - a non-governmental organization has mobilized the domestic and international organizations to support the education development, advanced technology and science transfer, health care, hunger eradication and poverty reduction in a number of mountainous and ethnic minority especially upland areas.

During the past seven years, HEDO has been implementing nearly 60 projects in mountainous provinces from Ha Giang, Lao Cai, Lai Chau, Son La to Central Highland and South to come with ethnic minority people of Vietnam with noble humanitarian mission.

This is the first project funded by British Embassy that HEDO has implemented in Bac Kan province and it has been started in the fastest time. It only took 3 months to draw up project and disburse fund to local farmers. As a newly separated province from Bac Thai province, Bac Kan meets a lot of difficulties especially education and health. Cuong Loi commune has total population of 1,543 with 293 households of which 30% are poor. The travelling is very difficult in this area. The road of 80 km to commune goes through many high mountains. Even it is a long slope, which is about 8 km and when we reach the top, our ears will be buzzed like flying on the plane. If it rains for one or two hours, the rivers and stream are so flooded that water encroaches on the road. At the first stage of the project, loans with interest of 0.3% have been provided to 105 households. And the farmers have to pay the loan every 6 months.  After two years, all households will have to pay off the loan. This fund will be presented to Cuong Loi commune to build or provide facilities school in the commune. Although the project scale is modest, it brings realistic effectiveness to people in the commune. After borrowing 1.4 millions VND, Mrs. Nong Thi Mien said “I will buy a buffalo which can reproduce one buffalo per year and it will make profit of 800,000 VND”. And Mr. Hoang Van Lat borrowed 1.5 millions VND to buy two reproductive pigs and cattle food. He expects that he can make profit of 1.2 to 1.5 million VND for one year after excluding the necessary expenses etc. Cuong Loi commune lies in upland. Therefore, shortage of cattle food often happens in winter. At the second stage of project, HEDO in cooperation with Biological Technology Institute under National Center for Natural Science and Technology will help farmers the methods of processing yeast and preserving cattle food from soybean, groundnut, maize and grass tree etc to ensure food for buffaloes and bulls in winter. One behalf of provincial leadership, Mr. Leng Van Ty expressed sincere gratitude to British Embassy and HEDO for supporting local farmers. And he strongly believes that Cuong Loi farmers will spend loan with proper purpose to develop animal breeding so that it becomes an important extra job, which combines with agricultural production to abolish hunger and reduce poverty..

Mr. Daniel, Consular of British Embassy did not hesitate the long and difficult way, came and studied living standard of people in the commune and provided money directly to farmers. He was pleased to visit a Vietnamese upland province that has immense landscape and talk with honest and hospitable people who unite together to work for new life and strengthen the friendly relationship between Britain and Vietnam.

Writen by Trinh Van Quy



© Highland Education Development Organisation (HEDO) 2001
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