A newborn baby is crying for help in Ben Tre

The baby, named Nguyen Thi Van Em, 4 and a half months of age, is the first baby daughter of Mr Nguyen Van Loi and his wife Dong Thi Diep. The young couple are now living in the 8th Village, My An Commune, Thanh Phu district, Ben Tre province.  

My An, which has been formed for several years, is one of the most remote communes of Ben Tre. It is, therefore, the worst among the poorest communes in the province.

Ms Dong Thi Diep said, her young and small family has been living on farming over the 2,000 sqm area of rice field. But, her family has always been in hardship due to low yield from the rice field. When I came to see their "home" (well, it is a hut, exactly), I could not see any of the things in it that may be worth more than ... several dozens of thousand dongs (several US dollars)!

But the most moving episode of this poor family is that their only child was born with a congenital heart disease.

The baby's mother (Ms Diep) carried her on her arms and said in tears: "She is so young, but she is always short of breath, and has to take very deep trokes of inhalation before making a full breath!"

According to the Cardiac Clinic in

Ho Chi Minh City , where the baby was once taken to for an examination, the results from the examination said her heart had a big hole in the ventricles, she also got high blood pressure in the lungs, and dangerous heart failure diagnosis. A heart operation had to be taken to save her life.

But the the operation was said to cost up to US$2,300. This is truly unaffordable to Van Em's parents because they are near to penniless at the moment (and maybe years in the future)!

On July 21, 2006, Ms Diep rushed her baby daughter again to the emergency ward of the Nguyen Dinh Chieu Hospital (Ben Tre's biggest hospital).

Moved by this miserable and heart-breaking blight, Ben Tre's Society for Assisting Poor Patients and Disables aided Van Em's parents VND10 million."In Ben Tre at the moment, there are more than 200 cases of heart disease that need to be operated," said Mr Le Huynh, Chairman of the Society. "Because the Society has to give the money to many poor families with urgent need while its fund is so small, it has to share the aid money between them," he added.

By the way, Mr Le Huynh also calls for helping hands from you, our kind-hearted readers to share the US$2,300 price-tag so that the heart operation could be carried out and Van Em's life would be saved!

Translated by Truong Hung