Like cacti in the desert

Strong and persistent as the cacti in the desert, Huong and Du are two fine examples of those who have been making non-stop efforts to rise from their difficulties

Huong and Du grew up with many tragedies during their childhood. Huong lost her father when she was a little girl. Wanting to earn more money to support his family, he unfortunately died when working in a carpentry factory in Laos. Her mother could not afford to raise her three children alone. Her older brother had to find shelter in a pagoda while Huong and her younger brother were luckily taken in by Xuan Phu social center.

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Huong (on the left) with her friends in Xuan Phu Social Center

Ha Danh Du, a little yet flexible and active boy, is also a member of Xuan Phu social center. His family’s story was indeed a series of bad luck. Du and his father were beggars, going around every corner of Hue City such as Dong Ba market, Tay Loc market, and other areas to survive. His mother was mentally ill and also had to take care of his younger brother, Danh. His relatives refused to help and even rejected Du’s mother due to her illness. Du barely had chance to go to school and play with his friends. He emotionally reminisced, “No one in my neighborhood wanted to play with me. They called me “pathetic beggar”. They made fun of me and stayed as far away from me as possible. I wanted to play football with them so bad, but I couldn’t. So I usually just sat and watched them play.” His father died of a terrible illness not long after Du was released from An Tay reformatory and his mother continued wandering around Hue.

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Du – A clever football player

However, Huong and Du’s lives turned to a new page in Xuan Phu social center. Du was so happy when he heard the news: “Last time I left home, I was imprisoned in a reformatory. This time, I leave for a new house, new home and new life.” At Xuan Phu social center, Huong and Du have caregivers watching over them, have teachers guiding them in the right direction and have friends to play with. Xuan Phu social center now is their dearest second home with everyone living and supporting each other. Huong shared, “Living in the love of everyone here makes me feel so grateful. I have become more confident and mature. I have faith in a brighter future awaiting me ahead.” Huong now is a student at the Hue Academy of Art majoring in graphics. Du is also growing up well. He always helps teachers take care of the little children and supports his friends in their daily life. Du has gained some admirable accomplishments in both academics and sporting activities.

Football makes Huong and Du happy and gives them the opportunity to learn the importance of teamwork. Huong likes to play football almost every day after school despite being a girl. She enjoys the great atmosphere that football can bring to her and her friends. As for Du, he is a very skillful and talented football player, which gave him the opportunity to be selected for the city youth team. He also likes to watch football, especially when Barcelona and Messi are playing.

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Huong (on the right) and Du (in the center) on a Fun football festival

This June, Huong and Du, together with two other teenagers from social centers will have the chance to participate in the Football for Hope Festival in Russia – an official event of FIFA World Cup to celebrate the power of football for social transformation. This is a great opportunity for them, especially as they came from disadvantaged backgrounds. Participating in an event on an international scale like this will help them overcome their inferiority complex, inspire them to be more confident, encourage them to try more in the future and do their best to fulfill their dreams.

Le Thi Hue

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