An inspiring story unfolds in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, where Nay Khôn, an ethnic teacher from the Jrai community, has been actively supporting impoverished ethnic students to overcome challenges and continue their education.
Born and raised in a modest village, Khôn’s personal struggles fueled his desire to give back to his community by teaching the children in his hometown. Since graduating from Gia Lai Pedagogy College in 1995, Khôn has dedicated himself to helping numerous underprivileged students pursue their studies, the Vietnam News Agency reported.
In the 2022-23 school year, Khôn was transferred to a school located in the Ia Jip ethnic hamlet, approximately 24km from the Krong Pa District center. Despite the deteriorating conditions of the classrooms, Khôn took the initiative to revitalize the learning environment. He motivated his students to participate in redesigning the classrooms, creatively covering moldy walls with vibrant wallpaper. Moreover, he encouraged them to bring wild orchids, flowers, and plants to beautify the classrooms and the school’s balconies, creating natural corners. During the dry season, Khôn taught the students to care for the plants by bringing water bottles from home.
To ensure a consistent attendance of students, Khôn often ventures into remote hamlets to persuade parents to prioritize their children’s regular school attendance. Fully aware of the challenges faced by his students, who must assist their parents in generating income, Khôn fearlessly braves the elements, traversing forests to locate and motivate students to attend class regularly.
Khôn’s genuine care for his students extends beyond the classroom. Ksor H’Met, a student who previously missed school to help her parents in the fields, faced numerous obstacles due to her family’s financial struggles. In response, Khôn selflessly deducted a portion of his salary to provide support for H’Met and her sisters, ensuring their well-being and educational opportunities. Additionally, Khôn regularly prepares lunch at the school’s kitchen for H’Met, her sisters, and other financially disadvantaged students, enabling them to attend afternoon classes.
Khôn actively seeks sponsors every summer to provide school supplies and books for students at Ia Jip school. In a recent school year, he received four used bicycles, which he repaired and gifted to his students. Moreover, he utilized his own salary to purchase three sets of new clothes, two pairs of slippers, two briefcases, and school supplies for students facing economic hardship in his class.
Recognizing the importance of reading, Khôn established a classroom library and organized a reading club to cultivate students’ reading habits. By forming reading groups, each comprising four to six students, he fostered a collaborative environment where students could support one another’s reading skills. The group leaders would report on their progress every Friday, leading to remarkable improvements in their reading abilities and literary skills, earning high praise from the school’s principal and inspiring other teachers to follow suit.
Đoàn Thị Thúy, principal of Trần Quốc Tuấn School, describes Khôn as an exemplary and dedicated teacher. His unwavering commitment and compassion towards underprivileged students have resulted in consistently maintained class enrollments. Furthermore, Khôn’s students have achieved notable success.
The unwavering dedication of Khôn and his students in creating a green, clean, beautiful, and safe school has impressed visitors. The efforts made by Khôn and his students to transform their learning environment have garnered admiration and appreciation from all who visit the school, according to Vietnam News Agency.