Another step on road to recovery – Le, Thi Kim Chi

This from the Hobart Mercury, more good news concerning Le, Thi Kim Chi. My concern now is, how are Kim Chi and her father going to settle back into rural VN life when they return. I realise they will be (are) anxious to see their family and friends, but after the initial excitement of being home again wears off, will they be able to return to the lives they once knew and be happy or is there a solid argument for some type of support network to further their progress? It would be particularly sad to see the education that Kim Chi is receiving, specifically the English, amount to nothing. Food for thought.

The Mercury
Edition 1 -FRI 20 MAY 2005, Page 005

A BRAVE teenager has taken another step in the journey that will transform her life. Yesterday Thi Kim Chi Le started her first day of school in Tasmania at Ogilvie High. The badly burnt Vietnamese girl was brought to Hobart in March to have plastic surgery under Rotary’s medical aid program for children. Thi Kim Chi Le’s chin was fused to her neck, and her mouth was distorted for 16 years after she pulled an oil lamp over herself and suffered severe burns and facial disabilities. Since her operation she has stayed with the Tran family who live near the school.

Mrs Hoang Tran said Thi Kim Chi Le had been looking forward to going to school.
“She is very excited about her first day,’’ she said. “She is not nervous at all. It is a big day for her.’‘

Thi Kim Chi Le said she was looking forward to learning English and making some friends. Her father Tanh Van Le, a 41-year-old gardener from Long An province in Vietnam, is also with his daughter in Hobart. “Her father is so happy that she is going to school,’’ Mrs Tran said.

Ogilvie assistant principal Jenny Morgan said the Year 10 student would study a range of subjects including art, drama, computers, English as a second language, and cooking. “It’s more of a social experience than an educational one,’’ she said.

Thi Kim Chi Le will have further reconstructive surgery before she leaves Hobart. Plastic surgeon Chris Edwards and many other medical professionals are providing their services free to help change her life. A day-long operation at St John’s Hospital in March was a major success, freeing her chin and setting the scene for further reconstructive surgery.