HCMC – The Saigon Times Group teamed up with the Thanh An Island border guard station to present 21 scholarships to poor students from the island hamlet of Thieng Lieng, Thanh An Commune, Can Gio District, HCMC yesterday morning, November 16.
Each of the students received a VND2-million scholarship sponsored by the Vietnam Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (Agribank) and a gift funded by donations from employees of the Saigon Times Group.
Situated over 70 kilometers away from the center of HCMC to the east and some eight kilometers away from the center of Can Gio, the island commune of Thanh An consists of three hamlets, namely Thanh Hoa, Thanh Binh, and Thieng Lieng. Of them, Thanh Hoa and Thanh Binh are located on Thanh An Island, while Thieng Lieng is nestled separately amid a mangrove forest on Thieng Lieng Island, which is around eight kilometers or a 45-minute boat ride from the commune center.
It requires great efforts of junior and high school students that are poor on Thieng Lieng to go to school every day, since the whole commune has only one junior and senior high school located on Thanh An Island.
As one of the scholarship recipients, Nguyen Ngoc Anh Thu, a Thieng Lieng resident who attends the Thanh An Junior and Senior High School, told the Saigon Times: “I get up early at around 4:40 a.m every day to prepare to go to school. It usually takes me nearly an hour to move from home to a local boat station, and from the boat station to my school.”
Captain Bui Duc Sang, deputy political commissar of the Thanh An Island Border Guard Station, told the paper that the students of Thieng Lieng have to wake up early at over 4 a.m. to take a boat ride to school and return home at around 8 p.m. daily.
To help reduce difficulties facing their daily commute to school, the Thanh An Border Station coordinated with the Thanh An People’s Committee and the Thanh An Junior and Senior High School to provide free lunch meals and places to nap for 12 poor students of Thieng Lieng at the station during the academic year 2021-2022.
The station also raised funds totaling over VND38 million donated by its border guards and generous donors to buy 10 folding chair beds and provide lunch meals valued at VND20,000/pax/day.
In this school year 2022-2023, the number of beneficiaries has risen from 12 to 21, Captain Sang added.
“I hope these scholarships will help ease financial difficulties faced by the scholarship recipients and encourage them to continue to come to school,” said Pham Huu Chuong, deputy editor-in-chief of the Saigon Times Group.
As for Agribank, Nguyen Tuan Binh, deputy director of Agribank Can Gio branch, said the branch would propose more similar programs to offer much-needed support to local residents in Can Gio, especially to create favorable conditions for students in remote areas like Thanh An to continue their path of acquiring knowledge.
Below are some photos of the scholarship award ceremony: