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72-Year-Old Lottery Ticket Seller Gives Underprivileged Kids Free Classes, Giving Them A Chance At A Better Life

Lottery ticket seller teaches poor children for free

Many people in their 50s and 60s can’t wait to retire, whether it’s to take care of their health or leave the stress of busy working life behind. 

However, there are older people who are still working to make a living, to stay engaged with society, or to pay it forward and help the next generation. 

That’s the story of Ms Nguyen Thi Ba, a 72-year old retired teacher in Thu Dau Mot, Binh Duong, who is now working as a full-time lottery ticket seller. Every day after finishing her work, she walks to a tuition center for disadvantaged children to give them free lessons.

72-year-old retired teacher works as a full-time lottery ticket seller

After retiring from her full-time teaching job at Tuong Binh Hiep Primary School in Binh Duong in 2003, Ms Ba decided to continue earning income by selling lottery tickets.

Without a family of her own and living in a rented house, selling lottery tickets helps her kill time as well as to make some extra money to donate to charity.

lottery ticket seller_teaching poor children
Image credit: Báo Bình Dương

Aware of Ms Ba’s keen interest in doing charity work, in 2016, her friends referred her to the Phu Cuong Tuition Center to teach underprivileged children. 

“I’ve talked to many children who are selling lottery tickets on the streets and aren’t able to go to school. As a former teacher, all I can do for them is to pass on my knowledge, so they can grow up with the hope of a better life.” Ms Ba shared.

She gives them lessons every day after work

It’s common knowledge that lottery ticket sellers in Vietnam are among our most vulnerable communities. They have to travel on foot or bicycle to sell the lottery tickets they have purchased from lottery ticket agencies, rain or shine. Not only do they earn as little as 10% of each ticket that’s sold at only VND10,000 (~USD0.43) each, but they are also often victims of physical abuse or robbery. 

lottery ticket seller_teaching poor children
Image credit: Báo Bình Dương

However, all of the pressure and difficulties of Ms Ba’s full-time job can’t discourage her from following her passion for teaching and helping people.

At 5PM every day, Ms Ba walks from her home to the tuition center, where she teaches 20 students from all types of backgrounds and academic levels. 

Before the class begins, Ms Ba and her students have free meals sponsored by generous donors. To remind them of the importance of good table manners, Ms Ba teaches her students to always clean and arrange their tables and seats after eating.

lottery ticket seller_teaching poor children
Ms Ba showing off her students’ study results
Image credit: Báo Bình Dương

Not only are Ms Ba’s students well-mannered, but many of them also achieve outstanding results in their studies. One of them, a 33-year-old former student, went from being illiterate to being able to read, write, and achieve high scores in her exams. 

She’s also involved in charity work despite her meagre income

Aside from teaching, Ms Ba also engages in charity work organized by the Golden Lotus Group, where she and fellow members support vulnerable communities. 

After achieving her goal of selling 100 lottery tickets per day, which translates to roughly VND100,000 (~USD4.31), she typically spends half on her basic living expenses and saves the rest for charitable donations. 

She often uses this money, including her retirement pensions, to buy food and cook for the poor. 

“I’m only a poor teacher. However, I want to use my strength to help those who are poorer than me. Just a tiny contribution to a good cause makes me very glad,” said Ms Ba. 

Ms Ba also supports her students by buying them food, noodles, and rice when they perform well in their studies. During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, in which her income was also affected, she also bought 20KG of rice and 2 boxes of instant noodles for the most disadvantaged students in her class.

Lottery ticket seller gives free lessons to poor children 

While Ms Ba has to work hard to put food on her own table at the age of 72, she also strives to make sure that her students and vulnerable groups get help. 

Not only does Ms Ba set a great example of ethics as a teacher, but she also reminds us that we can still help people around us however we can. 


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Cover image adapted from: Báo Bình Dương

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