The unspoken reality of the voiceless in the midst of Covid

The unspoken reality of the voiceless in the midst of Covid

Here in Vietnam, 3 months after the end of the quarantine by May 11 in the midst of Covid -19, life almost gets back to “normal”. Churches filled with the congregations; companies, restaurants, bars open; kids go back to school, public transportations are once again crowded with students, workers and the Tourism Industry makes used of this wonderful occasion to push the local tourist, a big number of Vietnamese are booking tickets for vacations with lots of offers from the local resorts along the beautiful beaches in this country.

We almost forget Covid-19.

But not everybody!

In Ai Linh Love School of the Handmaids in Vietnam, a school for the local migrant kids, those who have to follow their families, leave their homeland and start big fights in the city to find jobs, to earn their daily bread, we face with different reality.

Tha leaves the school this morning! The whole school knows, because he dressed in regular clothes as her enter the gate. He only comes to say goodbye to everyone.

Tha is standing in front of his class, crying when he says goodbye to his classmates. After that, he goes to the principal and pulls out of his pocket twenty thousand VND (1 US Dolar). He says quietly but very firmly “Thank you for cooking for me. That’s all I have!”

Because of Covid 19, Tha’s parents became unemployed, they have tried so hard to remain in the city, hoping to find some other jobs. They have heard about the fund for the unemployed from the government. They tried to wait, but few months passed, they got nothing! The rented house, the meals for their 3 kids, the water and electricity bills… all of these could wait no longer. And they left the city, a place where they had once hope to find a future. Tha stops schooling only 3 weeks before the exam. I wonder what will happen to him? Will he be allowed to take the exam or he has to repeat for another year? Will he continue to study or will he has to go to work?

Tha’s story is a typical story among the many sad stories that we have to hear when we say goodbye to them. By the end of the school years, the kids drop from 175 to 151. The Covid had changed the lives of these children. Construction sites where their fathers work only keep few workers and many don’t receive their salary for months, the small factories closed so the women also lost their work. No tourist means no service needed! When they are migrated to this city, they are not considered Saigonees which also means, no government support.

I called Mãi, a grade 4 boy, a class representative and a boy who always known by everyone as kindhearted and a very caring brother to his sister who is in grade 2. He said he had to work from 5 am to 9 pm so he has no more time to come to talk to me. His father went to other province to find job and he has to take care of his pregnant mother and his younger sister.

During and after the peak of Covid in Vietnam, many organizations, charity funds, good hearted peoples are helping the poor and those who are most affected by Covid with rice, with basic needs for few months. So at least hunger is not the issue. But in the long run, what will happen to the life of these 24 children [and many, many others.]

Trinh Nguyen, aci