Located in Ho Chi Minh City's District 10, Nguyen Dinh Chieu School is one of the few public schools in Vietnam to provide free education tailored for visually impaired children. It is the only one of its kind in the southern region.
For Nguyen Thi Phuong, 26, and her five-year-old son Dang Nguyen Tuan Kiet, school is their second home, a place where they spent most of the day during the past year.
Every day they travel to the school from their home in the Mekong Delta Province of Tien Giang and back, a distance of some 160 kilometers.
During their trip, Phuong and her son have to take a ferry to cross a river in Long An Province. They have traveled nearly 60,000 kilometers over the past year.
Needless to say, it takes a lot of energy to make such a long trip, but the young mother has never taken a break, rain or shine, sick or well.
It is the only school that her son, who has had neither vision nor muscle function since birth, can fit in and get the skills needed to function, she said.
Since Kiet joined the school, she has given up all her other commitments, including her job, to take him to school.
Phuong accompanies her son to class, sitting next to him to assist him while he learns. She tries to remember the teachers' instructions so that she can help him study more at home.
After class, the mother and son do some physical training with activities like climbing stairs and walking along the hall.
"My back aches a lot after spending the whole day bending over to help him keep his balance," Phuong says. "But his progress is well worth the pain."
Kiet, who was bedridden a year ago, is now able to stand on his own and take a few steps.
He even can sing a few songs.
"Every parent wants their children to be whole, but I was not lucky; I have to accept it," she says.
Phuong has another son. They live with her mother-in-law while her husband works in the southern province of Binh Phuoc.
After returning home from school, the young mother does not have time to eat dinner until her sons sleep. Though they are not rich, Phuong said, their family is always full of laughter and love, which helps her overcome all difficulties that life throws at her.
Original Vietnamese story can be found here on Zing.vn