The story of a 23-year-old Vietnamese woman who spent one month teaching students in a poor region of Thailand has drawn a lot of attention thanks to its moving details.
Le Quyen, who was a student at the Foreign Trade University in Ho Chi Minh City, joined a project managed by AIESEC, the world’s largest youth-run organization, covering over 113 nations and boasting 86,000 members, in which volunteers were sent to a poor area of Thailand to teach underprivileged children.
Quyen’s mission was to teach around 30 students at a secondary school in Banborthong, one of the country’s poorest areas, for one month, from February 1 to March 1.
She faced many difficulties because most of the students did not listen to her, for all they wanted was to stop studying and become farmers like their parents. They went hunting at night, returned home in the early morning, and slept in the classroom.
“When I asked them ‘How old are you?’ they answered, ‘I’m fine, thank you.’ I realized that their English language skills were extremely poor. That made me worry about their future,” Quyen shared.
Instead of giving up and waiting for the project to end, Quyen tried her best to encourage the students to go to class. She used video clips, pictures, and music as teaching aids and candy as rewards to arouse their interest in studying.
Quyen also tried to shrink the gap between her and the students by taking part in their daily activities, such as playing soccer and volleyball, catching snails, and picking mangoes.
Using a dictionary to help her communicate with the children in the Thai language, the young girl also spent time listening to her students’ future plans, their personal issues and passions, and the difficult and poor circumstances of their families.
During the final class, as the Thai students said goodbye to Quyen, the young teacher burst into tears when the class bowed in unison while saying a sincere, grammatically incorrect sentence: “Teacher, don’t go Vietnam.”
“They sang a song and gave me a lot of souvenirs. They cried and bowed to me. I could not hold back my tears,” Quyen shared.
After returning to Vietnam, Quyen said she could not forget her time spent in Thailand with her little children, and all she wanted was to go back to Banborthong.
She shared that she has already planned to work in Thailand for two more years to give the children further support.