Family of Mr. Tran Van Tu, 36, and Ms. Nguyen Thi Yen, 28 was among five families with whom Samsung Electronics Corporation (SEC) volunteers helped build houses in August 2015. The build event took place in Pho Yen district, Thai Nguyen province in Northern Vietnam on August 19 and 20. The volunteer engagement was part of the “New home – New hope” project, a joint partnership between Habitat for Humanity and Samsung Electrics Corporation which was kicked start in December 2014.
Five members of Mr. Tu’s family posing with SEC volunteers before the build
As we sat down for an open talk, Tu impressed us with a smile which seemed to always appear on his face. And so do his family. Poverty and difficulties can’t stop them from looking for a brighter future.
Tell me something about your family?
Mr. Tu: For 10 years of marriage, my wife and I now have three children. They are daughter Trieu Vi, 11 years old, son Trong Tan, 6 and daughter Bao Ngoc, 2. We work hard to ensure better lives for them.
Ms. Yen and their daughter, Bao Ngoc 2 year-old
What do you and your wife do to earn a living? And what is your total monthly income?
Mr. Tu: We grow and process green tea. Thai Nguyen is well-known for tea production. Besides, I work as a seasonal construction worker. Our total income is around 5,000,000–6,000,000 VND (US$ 228-273) per month.
We know that you are working very hard but the income just makes ends meet. Why is that?
Mr. Tu: After getting married, we took a loan with a high-rate interest to buy a slot of land for both living and cultivation. We couldn’t ask for support of our parents because they are indigent. My wife and I have strived hard. Our income is actually sufficient for saving, yet it is all spent on paying debts and growing business. I invested a big amount of money to expand the plantation previous years. That’s why we can’t afford new house. We know that the house is too run-down to live but we have no choice.
Tell me more about your old house.
Mr. Tu: The house was already built on the land we bought. It was small and deteriorated. When it rains heavily, the floor is literally as wet as the ground outside. The house has mud floor and walls and tiled roof. The front walls were reinforced with untreated woods which don’t help much. Some pieces of the woods fell out due to strong winds and injured my wife’s leg last month.
Whenever I work away from home, I’m always worried about the safety of my wife and children. When there is a torrential rain, strong wind or a storm, we sometimes hide under the bed as being scared that the house fall down.
We do know that we need a new house. Sadly, we can only start saving for it in the next 3 years as the soonest.
So now your family has a new decent home. Congratulations!
Mr. Tu: Thank you very much. I also want to send my appreciation to the donor, Samsung Electronics Corporation, their volunteers and Habitat Vietnam for helping poor families like us to have a decent home. The new home would relieve me from housing distress and allow me to focus on improving our livelihoods.
SEC volunteers building new home for Mr. Tu’s family
What’s your plan in the near future?
Mr. Tu: We will continue working hard to pay off our loan. This is the best way to say thanks to our donors. Moreover, we hope that more and more disadvantaged families will be supported to have their own decent home.
Also, I’m saving money to buy a computer for my daughter. It costs around 5,000,000 VND (US$ 200) which is a big amount for us but we will try our best. We want our children to have better lives.