Despite difficulties, teachers in the northwestern province of Son La are determined to devote their life to teaching young children. They are working to overcome obstacles and encourage children to go to school.

In Hang Dong commune, Bac Yen district, simple classrooms are covered by smog all year-round. However, teachers and pupils at a local primary school still go to school every day.

Bui Van Thanh who comes from the Red River Delta province of Hung Yen has been living in Bac Yen for 20 years. He had to walk dozens of kilometres to class on his first school day. This, however, could not prevent his love for the children and his determination to stay and teach them.

“The first day I came here, the classes were not in as good condition as they are now,” said Thanh. “There was only one class for all the grades from one to five. So the pupils had to take turns to study.”

Hang Dong is Bac Yen’s most newly established commune. The whole locality is home to seven school branches, the furthest one being 30km away from the centre. Due to transport difficulties, the teachers have to walk to school.

Teacher Lo Van Huan said at first, he was discouraged. However, he gradually got used to walking to school.

“I decided to choose Hang Dong as my second hometown and became determined to contribute to developing the locality,” he said.

As most of the local people here are Mong ethnic minorities, teachers face difficulties in communication. But this did not prevent them from learning the ethnic language to talk to the locals.

“I found the first difficulty to be the language difference,” teacher Dinh Thi Dung said. “The teachers have to learn the Mong language in order to communicate with the students and their parents. For students at the first grade, we have to teach in both the Mong and Vietnamese languages.”

With their great love and determination, it is hoped that the teachers will overcome all difficulties to work in the mountainous region and help make the students’ dreams come true.-VNA