Phuc was 14 years old when he realized he could no longer suffer from his congenital heart disease.
Phuc’s father died six years ago, and his mother has also suffered a terrible fate. Because the family was so poor and could not afford Phuc’s medical treatment, his mother did what she could to support him. It was never enough, so in desperation, she committed an illegal drug trade and was sentenced to twelve years in prison.
Currently, Phuc lives with his grandmother, an uncle, and a cousin. His cousin works in a rice paper workshop and earns a modest, unstable income; he is the family’s sole breadwinner.
Phuc suffered from ill-health since birth — to the point where he had to be carried to school every day. When Phuc’s case reached Heartbeat Vietnam, we set him up with surgery immediately and he finally got the lifesaving treatment he deserved.
Because Phuc’s family was treading below the poverty line, we awarded him a Continuing Care grant, which provided him with one year of post operation care (including medical exams, a new bicycle, and meals) as well as one year of full school tuition.
This allowed the family to get back on their feet and support themselves, and Phuc to have the best recovery possible. But as soon as we stopped the grant one year following his surgery, we heard that Phuc quit school so he could get a job and support his family.
And so we restarted the grant, in a promise that he would return to school.