Among them, ‘M’ who is a little 7-year-old girl with a sad face left me feeling obsessed with her and her circumstances after visiting her. M’s parents died of HIV many years ago, and her older sister was sent to an HIV center in Vung Tau for treatment. Therefore, ‘M’ has to stay with her violent maternal grandmother who makes a living from collecting garbage. ’M’ is often hit by her grandma who seems to be very short tempered and this makes her scared of others and shy when communicating.
I met her when she was with other relatives eating with her dirty hands and sitting next to her maternal uncle who was drinking wine and not communicating with her. That made us very upset to see her neglect. There was no communication with her, no sharing, no good care of her and on top of that there is lack of good nutrition; all of this is making ‘M’ abnormal and different from other children of her age. Some of the biggest problems ‘M’ faces are ending up uneducated and vulnerable to abuse.
How we can help her to overcome these challenges, and how can ‘M’ continue going to school, are my concerns as well as CEF’s concerns. I can see from her circumstances that a good background for a child’s education is influenced by different factors in a child’s life.