HCM CITY — Nguyễn Hoài Thanh, the owner of a large chain of hair salons in HCM City, is helping students cut back on their expenses by offering them a room to rent – free of charge.
Thanh started offering out rooms in a house he bought in Ward 11, District 3 nearly two years ago. He was not using the space and so, to save it going to waste, the rooms have instead been offered to those less fortunate.
First, he posted online that he could offer rooms free of charge. In less than a day, Thanh received many messages and calls from students applying for accommodation.
Thanh told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper that he sympathises with the difficulties of students, especially students who have just moved to the city to study.
He is no stranger to being down and out; when he left his hometown in Đồng Nai Province for HCM City, he worked as a shoe shiner, xe ôm (motorbike taxi) driver, motorbike repairman and a street vendor.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to go to university because my family could not afford it. I had to work to earn a living. So I understand the difficulties of young people. I’m determined to help some of the disadvantaged students,” Thanh said.
In 2018, Thanh started his career as a hairdresser, and then taught the profession to young people in difficult circumstances that could no longer go to school. Thanh also offers haircuts for VNĐ2,000 to students in local universities.
In his small house in Ward 11, District 3, Thanh supplied items and bunk beds for six students to live.
Hundreds of students have phoned Thanh to find free accommodation.
“I plan to expand this model to other districts. Each district will have one of my free accommodation. I redesigned my hair salons in District 5 and Phú Nhuận District for student accommodation. I also want to build the rental houses for students in Bình Thạnh, Gò Vấp and Thủ Đức districts,” Thanh said.
“I just want to help them. It’s fun and motivates me to overcome other difficulties.”
Trần Hữu Khang, a student from Kiên Giang Province, arrived at one of Thanh’s free houses on the afternoon of February 13. He was born to a farming family in Kiên Giang Province. His parents are not well-off.
He immediately called Thanh when he read his post, and was delighted to be offered a place to stay just 30 minutes later.
He had previously failed to find a house to rent, despite going to many places in the city.
Free accommodation will reduce the burden on Khang’s family when he is studying HCM City.
Trần Anh Tú, a student from a college preparatory school in HCM City, was also happy to find a place in Thanh’s house, after returning the city after the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
This will help Tú save more money for learning in the next school year.
“There are many good people. I will try my best to study and later will thank those who helped students stay in free accommodation,” Tú said. VNS