A South Korean monk and several of his compatriots have completed a 2,000-kilometer run in Vietnam to raise money to build toilets in schools.
Jin Ho, the chief monk of a pagoda in Gumi in the east of South Korea, and several others Sunday finished a month-long run from Ca Mau Province on Vietnam’s southern tip to Da Nang. It was their second such run after running from the northernmost province of Cao Bang to Da Nang in early 2015.
Ho told Tuoi Tre newspaper the purpose was to raise money from people and businesses in South Korea to build 108 proper toilets at poor schools in Vietnam.
He has managed to build 24 toilets with money raised from the first run, and he said there is enough remaining for nine more.
Ho said the big mission had its genesis in a smaller one when he jogged 108 kilometers non-stop in 16 hours in March 2011 and raised more than five million won (US$4,200) to treat a brain injury suffered by a Vietnamese worker.
When the worker, Mai Van Toan, suffered the injury his friends took him to a hospital in a coma, but none had money to pay for surgery.
Ho took care of the entire medical treatment for more than 18 months.
He then took Toan to the latter’s hometown in the northern province of Thanh Hoa. Toan took him on a tour to places he had been to in his childhood, including his schools, where Ho noticed that many children did not have clean toilets.
He returned to South Korea with a plan and quickly collected enough money to build the first proper toilet for a school in Thanh Hoa.
Ho said he wants Vietnamese children to get a better study environment so that they have a chance to turn their difficult life around.
The participants in the latest run were all people from the same city as Ho, including a busy electronics engineer who was invited to come and cook for everyone.
The run seeks to raise a total of VND5.4 billion ($241,000), with a budget of around VND50 million for a toilet.
Ho said everything he is doing is only to repay Vietnam. Vietnamese had in the past helped South Korea protect its independence, and Vietnamese workers, students and wives in Korea are now contributing a lot to society, he said.