(CPV) – Undertaking different tasks as part of Vietnam's first engineer team at the United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) in Africa, 21 female soldiers always actively overcome difficulties, unite and promote the good qualities of Vietnamese women in the international environment.

Vietnamese "green beret" teacher

The opening day of two new classrooms built by Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1 for Abyei High School was also the day the teacher, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien, had the first English lesson with the students. The first lesson in the English textbook of Abyei high school students that teacher Lien teaches is called "Language of Peace".

Sharing with me about this lesson, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien said that she cried while preparing the lesson. She cried because this was not only a lesson in textbooks for students, but also the longing and expectation of the people here for peace and stability; She cried because she understood the value of a peaceful life that she and many other people are enjoying.


Abyei is a disputed area located between Sudan and South Sudan - two African countries thousands of kilometers away from Vietnam. People here have long lived in instability and students in Abyei also suffer many disadvantages in accessing education. Life is difficult with low salary, so many teachers at the school cannot continue their jobs. As a result, students' learning is also interrupted.

With the desire to contribute to maintaining and improving the learning quality of students in Abyei, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien, in addition to the duties of a combined military and civilian coordination officer at the Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1, spent 2 hours a week on Friday (holiday of the staff at the UNISFA) to give a lecture at the class. Teacher Lien's English lessons with the support of technology (with a TV screen to illustrate, powered by generators supported by the Engineering Unit) have blown a new wind in teaching and learning at Abyei High School.


The lively English lessons of teacher Lien have blown a new wind in teaching and learning at Abyei High School. 

Students can speak very little English, so it is difficult for them to understand the lectures. However, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien used to work as a teacher and was the Head of Foreign Languages Department, Basic Faculty, School of Special Forces, so she was prepared to approach and teach students. Although she is not an official teacher, she can be considered as the first female teacher of the school.

Returning to the job that she has worked for many years, Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien is very eager and always devotes a lot of enthusiasm to each lesson. She said, it's hard to forget the moment when she and her students wiped their tears while listening to the song "Heal the world", and deeply felt the desire for a peaceful life and a good future for everyone.

Continue writing the journey on the "path of kindness"

Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Thi Lien's class is one of many activities that Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has deployed in Abyei. On February 11, Vietnam's Engineering Unit coordinated with the Civilian Coordination Office to organize the inauguration and handover of humanitarian works for Abyei High School. With the peace-loving spirit, the tradition of mutual affection and the highest sense of responsibility, the Engineers Team has overcome difficulties, challenges, differences in culture, history, geography, customs, habits and language to open up their own "path" to the people of Abyei - the "path of kindness". Through the "path of kindness", through schools, teachers and students, the unit bring to the people of Abyei the dear feelings, the hearts of the Vietnamese people who love peace, bring them the hope of a bright tomorrow.


Vietnamese female soldiers guide teachers and students of Abyei High School to grow some fruit trees


Following practical activities to help improve the lives of local people, recently, members of the Women's Union and the Youth Union of the Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1 have promoted activities to support the planting of agricultural crops for the local people in Abyei. The techniques and experiences of growing agricultural crops shared by the sisters of the Engineering Unit have been realized by the teachers and students of Abyei High School with green vegetable and fruit gardens to help improve meals at the school. Not only that, this experience is also spread to households and people in the area. Therefore, from the first small garden at Abyei High School, now the planting area has increased in the school and surrounding areas, adding green patches to the arid red soil in Abyei.

Teachers and students of Abyei High School also visited the garden of the Vietnam’s Engineering Unit and learned farming experiences. After this study and visit, the teachers and students prepared and enjoyed some dishes from the vegetables harvested from the lush growing garden under the guidance of the members of the Engineering Unit. The green gourds, squash, and vegetable beds, covered with green in a corner of the Army Corps of the Engineering Unit, have received the admiration of international delegations and local people to visit.

 Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1’s members donated some vegetable varieties to local people
to improve their daily meals.

The appearance of fruit and vegetable gardens in Abyei has attracted the attention of local authorities, village elders, village chiefs and even church priests. They hope to have more vegetable and fruit gardens like this on Abyei land. Responding to the request of the locality, under the direction of the unit commander, the Women's Union and the Youth Union continued to promote activities to support and expand this model to more families, thereby contributing to the movement of planting agricultural crops to provide food for the local people.

The flowers of Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1

According to Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen, Politician of the Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1, all 21 female soldiers are fresh flowers, each of them has a different mission, but they all play an important role in ensuring activities of the Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation at the UNISFA, where all conditions were difficult, lacking and the work was really hard. Regardless of position, female soldiers always clearly define their roles and responsibilities, proactively overcome difficulties; solidarity, attachment, mutual assistance to each other to fulfill the task well, said Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen.

Professional army lieutenant colonel Dang Thi Ly (staff of the logistics team, Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1) shared about the difficulties of female soldiers while on remote duty. 

For example, the women working in logistics have always been actively researching and improving the processing methods of frozen foods to make dishes with home flavors that are more suitable for Vietnamese taste. At the same time, the sisters always focus on preserving food hygiene in all stages from receiving, preserving to processing, contributing to improving the health of the whole unit. In addition to ensuring regular logistics at the unit, the female soldiers are always ready and enthusiastic to participate in ensuring logistics for the forces going on missions away from the unit.

The female soldiers who do military medical work always have to overcome the lack of equipment to control the situation and take the best care of the health of the team members. They do not mind day and night at the unit or on the construction site to ensure first aid, emergency and safe treatment; at the same time, actively provide information on epidemic prevention and control measures, proactively prevent and promptly prevent epidemics, preventing the spread of diseases in the unit.


 Major Nguyen Thi Tam and children in the Abyei area, Africa.

Professional military major Nguyen Thi Tam, administrative receptionist, Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1 said “Although I am not directly involved in building new roads, building new houses... for the people of Abyei, I feel very happy to have empowered my teammates so that they can complete all missions with peace of mind. We come here to feel and stand side by side with the people, bringing them new and better things to life.”

Although this is the first time participating in UN peacekeeping activities, but with the knowledge they have equipped and their own qualifications, after only a short time coming to the UNISFA, the female soldiers are active in handling difficult situations. In foreign affairs, communication, and behavior, they always show warmth, hospitality, confidence, grace and courtesy. With the spirit of pride and national pride, each female soldier is a person who spread the good cultural traditions of the nation, spreading the image of the country and people.

The female soldiers have contributed to shining the qualities of "Confident, self-respecting,
loyal and courageous" of Vietnamese women in the new era. 

According to Lieutenant Colonel Nguyen Quang Tuyen, not only fulfilling their assigned duties and responsibilities, the female soldiers were actively participated in the joint activities of the Unit, especially the exchange activities with foreign affairs, mass mobilization and humanitarian activities.

The image of 21 friendly and hard-working female soldiers of the Vietnam's Engineering Unit Rotation 1 has received much love from international friends and local people. They have contributed to shining the qualities of "Confident, self-respecting, loyal and courageous" of Vietnamese women in the new era in Abyei./.

Quang Tuyen - Kieu Giang - Tuyet Nhung
23/06/2023 16:15