Friday, November 11, 2016

Vietnamese kids in Cambodia overcome flood to go to school in An Giang province

More than 1,200 Vietnamese students in border areas of Kandal province (Cambodia) cross the swift-flowing Binh Di river daily by small boats to An Phu district, An Giang province, to go to school.
Student crossing Binh Di river (Photo:
Student crossing Binh Di river (Photo:
An Phu district has seven border communes. Each day it receives more than 1,200 Vietnamese students from Ko Thum district, Kandal province, to study Vietnamese language. From August until now, Cambodia has banned ferry boats operating on Binh Di river, which makes travel difficult for students and residents.
Khanh An commune has the largest number of overseas Vietnamese students with 700 children. When ferry boats were banned, residents in Ko Thum district got small boats to transport the students across the river in the flood and collect VND1,000 per person.
“With swift-flowing water, we are very afraid, but we have no other choice to go to school,” said Le Van Sang, a student from the Khanh An primary school.
Before the danger, many parents put aside their businesses to take their children to go to school and wait until they finish school to take them to home. Many people also take their own boats to take their children to go to school.
“The river is few hundred meters wide in flood season, and the boat is tiny so I can’t leave my children alone. Every day, my husband and I have to take turns to take my two children go to Khanh An commune to study,” said Mrs. Nguyen Thi Ngoc from Ko Thum.
Each day, the Ngoc family pay about VND40,000 -50,000 for her two children to go to school, including paying for motorbike taxi and small boat.
“Previously, large boats didn’t collect money from the students. The children could go to school on foot or we could take them by motorbike, the cost was less than VND20,000 and it was safer,” Mrs. Ngoc said.
Mr. Nguyen Hung Long, Chairman of the Khanh An commune People’s Committee, said that it is very dangerous for the students and the residents to cross the river by small boat during the flood season. However, the prohibition of the operation of large boats is of Cambodia. In the coming time, they will open a large road, set up a checkpoint and allow a wharf to operate, it will create convenience for controlling people and vehicles crossing, to ensure security and safety.
“In the short term, the local government communicates and mobilizes the school, parents and owners of small boats to ask the students to wear life jacket when crossing the river, and the small boats should not be overloaded,” Mr. Long said.
According to An Phu district administration, overseas Vietnamese people must use their boats to cross the river to take their children to go to school because Long Binh – Chrey Thom bridge (the only bridge crossing Binh Di river) connecting the two adjacent districts has been completed but it is not yet open for crossing.
The Vietnamese side has completed the construction but the Cambodianside has not built a road to the bridge and some other items./.


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