HCM CITY — Nguyễn Thị Nga has been doing good deeds for the past 35 years. At the age of 83, she still works until 10pm to help others.
After beating COVID-19 several months ago, Nga was advised to rest to recover her health. However, she didn’t want to stop, and rolled up her sleeves to help those in need.
“As long as I’m alive and healthy, I must do useful work,” she told online newspaper Tienphong.
In a small house located behind the An Nhơn Church in HCM City’s Gò Vấp District, Nga sits among piles of cloth and sewing kits.
She collects the cloth from tailors in her neighbourhood, and uses the fabric to make small pants and T-shirts. The clothes are then donated to children in mountainous areas.
Nga has been doing the job since a trip to the Central Highlands in 1987 when she had a chance to visit a leprosy camp in the mountainous area of Pleiku City in Gia Lai Province.
She witnessed many children without warm clothes and adults lacking blankets at the camp.
After seeing such difficulties, she returned home and decided to do something to help them. She went to local tailors to ask for spare cloth to make into clothes and blankets of different sizes.
With an old sewing machine, she makes colourful blankets and new clothes from the fabric. After completing the items, Nga folds, neatly arranges and packages them for her next trip to the mountainous areas.
Nga said she only thought that she would do the job several times until there were enough clothes and blankets. But every time she went to the charity group, she found more people in need and more jobs to do.
Nga has never stopped. In 2000, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Three months after the surgery, she followed the volunteer group to the mountain to handle new clothes and blankets for those in need.
“Once I have done something, I must do it completely, so that I’ll feel satisfied with my job,” she said.
Nga is the oldest child in a large family. As her parents passed away early, she had to struggle to raise six younger siblings. When they all grew up, she got married and moved out and has lived like that ever since.
Apart from sewing clothes, Nga also collects scraps and plastic bottles that she sells to buy rice and food for people in poverty.
Her story has inspired many people to donate rice, food and money.
Several months ago when HCM City was severely hit by COVID, Nga was infected with the virus and forced to go to hospital for treatment.
During her treatment, Nga maintained an optimistic spirit to fight COVID-19 and help other patients at the hospital.
She took on jobs such as cleaning the bathroom and making a rack to hang clothes. She also encouraged patients with mild symptoms to take exercise.
Nguyễn Thị Thu, a neighbour who used to be a COVID-19 patient at the hospital, said in spite of her old age, Nga helped her cook and encouraged all the patients in the room.
“Everyone loves her. She is somehow like our grandmother. When she went home from the hospital, everyone missed her,” she said.
Nga said she was so lucky to survive COVID-19 that she wanted to do more to help others for as long as she was healthy. — VNS