Medical student Vo Minh Loc's letter
March 14th, 2014
Dear Ms. Phi and Donors of the VNSDF-HELVIETMED Scholarship Fund, Dear Medical Society of Beaulieu,
Vo Minh Loc, 2nd year medical student at CTUMP (Can Tho Univ. of Medicine & Pharmacy), Aug 18, 2013
Catching my teachers and my friends off guard, I entered Can Tho University of Medicine and Pharmacy. All gave me congratulations, however, they could not help being worried for me because of my difficult family conditions. My family did not have enough money and we could not sell our farm land just for my school fees. I used to have a happy family and enough to live, when my father earned our living by fishing and my mother by farming to feed their 4 children. I mistakenly believed that our peaceful life would just go on like that. But on a day at the end of year 2000, an accident happened to my father. On the way riding home, he fell off the bicycle. He first thought that it was a banal accident, but my father got whiplash injury, cervical contusion and then a traumatic paralysis of the entire body. The doctors at local hospitals could not help with treatment. Not giving up all hope, my mother sent my father to Chợ Rẫy Hospital in Saigon. My family used our money for an extremely expensive treatment during six months, but the biggest happiness for us was when my father’s limbs could move again. With the bravery of a soldier, my father trained so hard with physical therapy that he recovered soon. However, he still cannot work as well as he used to do.
Certificate from authorities confirming that the family lives below poverty line
Certificate from Tien Giang authorities confirming that the family is very poor
The family comes from Tien Giang, a poor province of the Mekong Delta
Since then, my mother has taken over the responsibility to earn the living of the family. Without having any capital, she just could plant vegetables to sell at the market. Four years later, having no choice, we were forced to let my eldest sister drop out of school when she was in the midst of grade 10. All members of my family tried to take good care of the remaining three sisters for schooling. And we also studied really hard. Now my second older sister works as a midwife and my third older sister is studying for Bachelor of Nursing, while I am studying to become a General Practitioner. I would like to express my deep gratitude to my ex-teachers who always supported and helped me so much during that hard time. After entering the university, I have taken up part-time jobs to earn my living because the income of my family is not enough for both college students (my third older sister and me). I went to school in the morning, in the afternoon, I served at restaurants, and in the evening I worked as a tutor. Moreover, I also helped at wedding parties on the weekend. Keen on earning money, I sometimes even forgot that I am still a medical student.
Loc's family has 6 people
At the beginning of this year, thanks to introduction from a teacher at the university, I came to apply for the VNSDF - HELVIETMED scholarship . The phone interview by Ms. Phi is perhaps the most emotionally challenging call I’ve ever answered. I was a vice monitor of a class with 87 students, used to speak loudly, but when I answered the phone I stammered. It maybe because I was too happy that I choked. She asked about my future dream, but I have never dared to think beyond graduating to become a general practitioner. In that moment of happiness I answered her I wanted to become a surgeon. She suddenly asked me why, perhaps by instinct I said that.
Loc participating in community activities as volunteer, collecting waste
Collecting garbage in an ecologic community project to clean the environment
I thought at first that this VNSDF – HELVIETMED scholarship offered only financial support like other Funds. But that thinking really changed when I received this scholarship, VNSDF is really a Home, here everybody always has enthusiasm, and a capacity for listening, sharing, and helping each other. The VNSDF members taught me something that I have never learned at school : soft skills, different ways to think, group communication & group work...etc. The workshops have been teaching me some interesting lessons about life.
Dr Uyen, HELVIETMED's vice-president, giving the VNSDF-HELVIETMED scholarship to Loc
The VNSDF – HELVIETMED scholarship came to me right when I needed help the most. It lightened up the flame of hope for my next steps. I was less worried about life and had more time for the medical books that I enjoy. My way was not as difficult as before because behind me,there is now an adoptive family to support me. I do not know to say more than thanks and best wishes for good health to Ms.Phi, Ms.Minh Phuong, all members of the big VNSDF – HELVIETMED family and donors , The Medical Society of Beaulieu,that gave me hope for the future. Thank you to you all.
From L to R, Dr Phi,VNSDF coordinator, 5 new med students, and DR Uyen,in Can Tho, 18/8/13
Loc & friends: "Lương y như từ mẫu": A good doctor is like a kind mother
Võ Minh Lộc, Y 2, 2nd year medical student,Cần Thơ University of Medicine and Pharmacy (CTUMP ).