Sunday, 16/04/2023 08:51

Writer fosters reading in disadvantaged children

Children’s author Thái Thị Hồng Đào with one of her books, 'Siêu Nhân Bánh Bao' (Dumpling Superhero).  Photos courtesy of Hồng Đào

Thái Thị Hồng Đào is a 32-year-old author and screenwriter in Long An Province, who also works in the media. 

Thankful for receiving donations for her child's medical treatment, she began writing books for children, such as Siêu Nhân Bánh Bao (Dumpling Superhero), Siêu Nhân Chăn Rách (Torn Blanket Superhero), and Siêu Nhân Ủn Ỉn (Piggy Superhero).

She is also known for organising many charitable activities fostering reading in underprivileged children. Đào spoke with Việt Nam News, about her journey.

Inner Sanctum: What is the motivation behind your charity work?

I have been doing charity work for almost five years. 

It all started with my first child’s eye problem at birth. When hearing from doctors that he would likely be permanently blind, I was devastated. I was financially unstable at the time, and such costly treatment was beyond my ability. 

Not giving up, I started figuring out what I could do, as well as reaching out for help. I was very fortunate as my child received unconditional care and financial support from the community. They helped my son, even though they did not know who I was. After an unsuccessful surgery in Taiwan, my son was funded for another surgery in Singapore. 

My son’s vision is now in a much better condition, all thanks to the great support of the community. I felt grateful for such kindness, which made me think of doing something to pay back. That was when I decided to wholeheartedly dedicate my time and effort to helping those in need.

Đào’s books were donated to a library in Kon Tum Province in 2022, providing free reading to local disadvantaged children. 

Inner Sanctum: Many children love your books. Is there any special reason you became a children’s author?

I enjoyed reading when I was little, which may explain why I was good at literature at school. But I had really limited access to books due to my family’s financial difficulties.

When I began doing charity work, I realised there were so many children unable to read books regularly, although they are such an affordable source of knowledge.

From my childhood and my love for reading, I believe that self-learning and personal development through reading are the key drivers to overcome obstacles. This makes me believe that books can stimulate creative thinking in children and help them strengthen their thinking skills.

I hope that I can indirectly show children the life-lessons behind my works, and that they can find their dreams, motivations and incentives to self-educate and fight any challenges.

Apart from selling books, I started reaching out to like-minded donors and sponsors to help bring books to children 

Inner Sanctum: Having hosted many philanthropic activities for children, can you tell us about how you organised them? 

I am fortunate to have quite a big inner circle, so I usually get to know about unfortunate cases through my acquaintances and volunteers. I then visit those people in need to verify and understand more about them.

We typically raise funds for children in need of medical treatment, as well as providing books and daily necessities for underprivileged children. For the latter, we have a careful look at their living conditions to find what is best for them.

Đào holds a child (whose parents are in prison) in a Lunar New Year celebration event that she held this year for people living in Long An Province's Social Support Centre. 

Inner Sanctum: Do you face any challenges as an active charity worker?

There is no doubt that it requires much time and effort. I find it hard to be able to attend every single charity trip.

From my perspective, trust and transparency in doing charity work is key. I am very upfront about recording and publicising benefactors. 

However, there were times that I could not make it due to problems with commuting or schedule conflicts. This makes it challenging for me to keep my position of trust. Some may wonder if the money or goods donated is the same as what I have publicly announced. 

I am trying my best to work around this.

Inner Sanctum: Can you share your thoughts on receiving support from donors and the public?

I am so blessed to have received endless support from the community and donors. This proves that what I have been doing has a significant communal impact, which enables me to connect with more volunteers and donors. 

I always tell myself that I should not take this for granted, and I must work harder to keep faith with the community.

Inner Sanctum: What are your upcoming charitable plans and projects?

I am working with Tân An City’s Youth Union of Long An Province on a project setting up free book cabinets around the city. I am also planning on providing 1,000 books to send to children in Kon Tum and Đắk Lắk provinces. Furthermore, I hope that these will be a great way to foster reading among children, especially the underprivileged.

Besides this, I am connecting with more donors and sponsors to work on big projects dedicated to promoting reading and providing free books to unfortunate children. VNS

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