With special love and sympathy for the deprivation of ethnic minority children, 34-year-old Ngo Thi Ly of Kon Nhen village in Kon Tum province has turned her house into a library where children can read, study, and play.
Ly spends a lot of her time and effort teaching the children games and songs and as a result has made life in Kon Nhan more enjoyable for them.
For almost a year the children of Kon Nhen village and Dak Ruong commune have been gathering at Ms. Ly's library every Friday and Saturday night to read books.
The library is a regular hangout for 40 children. During the summer that number increases to about 80.
6th-grader Hoang Nhat Le has been coming to the library since it opened and is now one of the core members of activities organized by Ms. Ly.
Le told us that she has “learned a lot of things by participating in the activities here. Here I get to dance, sing, and talk to my peers. I have acquired some useful knowledge and read some good books. What I like best are books about exploring the world and stories about our national history. I find them very enjoyable.”
At first, there were only a few hundred books. Now there are more than 1,000. The library keeps no borrowing log. The children can read books at the library or feel free to take them home and read them there. They are conscientious about returning the books to the library. Ly encourages the children to think of the library as part of their own home. They come to the library not just to read, but to spend time with their friends.
Nguyen Thanh Phong, a regular visitor to the library, said “When the library first opened, I called on neighbors and friends to collect books for the library. We bring spare clothing and schoolbags as well as books to the library for the use of disadvantaged children.”
Ly decided to establish the communal library after moving to Kon Nhen village and discovering that local children lacked books and places of entertainment. Despite her busy job recording property boundaries for the commune, Ly spends as much time as possible with the children. Every day she helps them choose books and teaches them new songs and dances.
Tran Thi Thuy, a local government official, told VOV “In the past, the children had no place to play. Since the library was set up, every Friday and Saturday the children try to bathe and eat dinner by 5 p.m. so they can go to the library. Their parents can see how much their children enjoy it. And the children are much better behaved now than in the past.”
Ly plans to celebrate the library’s first complete year of operation on the 127th birth anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh on May 19.
She says she feels happy to have received moral and financial support from local authorities, social organizations, and families, who have helped her create fun and educational activities for the children. VOV