Y Julie was born without arms, but the 18-year-old from Kon Drei Village has just started as a freshman at Đà Nẵng University’s Information Technology Faculty.

She is affectionately known as “penguin” by her classmates.

During her 12 years at school, Y Julie always impressed her parents, teachers and other students with her passion for education.

Hard road for education

“When I was a child, I once followed my friend to her class,” Y Julie said.

“I saw little girls the same age as me attentively writing and reading. I felt almost heartbroken because I did not have hands to write with,” she said.

However, the little girl decided to learn how to write.

She found a way of gripping a stick with her feet and tried to write on the ground.

She tried every day for months and months until her feet ached, but she did not give up.

After several months, Y Julie could eventually write her and parents’ names using her feet.

Y Julie’s mother, Y Zoar, said: “Although I was a kindergarten teacher, I couldn’t find a way to teach my daughter how to write.”

“When I saw her initial success, I bought lots of books to read,” she recalled.

As time went by, Y Julie’s scribbled letters on the ground were replaced by curly letters in notebooks.

Those letters and words were thanks to her burning desire to learn and get an education.

“Although she’s disabled, Y Julie can write very nicely,” said Lê Thị Diệu Hiền, a teacher at Trường Chinh Secondary School.

“Y Julie was a hard-working and smart student. She was always in the top ten students in her class,” Hiền said.

“The teachers admired her energy, which inspired many other students,” she said.

Y Julie is a nice girl with a very cheerful personality which means she gets on well with her friends.

As well as a hard-working student, she is also a good daughter.

Y Julie often helps her mother to clean the house and wash dishes and clothes.

“In her spare time, she also helps her younger sister and brother to study,” Y Julie’s mother said.

“She is like a little angel, always obedient and polite to everyone,” she said.

New challenges

“This year I’ve become an university student. I knew studying at university would be a new challenge for a disabled person like me,” said Y Julie.

At the beginning of academic year, Y Julie was timid and had little contact with the other students.

“The subjects are far from what I had imagined,” said Y Julie.

“During my first days at the university, the lecturers and students were surprised to see a disabled person using a computer with their feet,” she said.

Gradually she regained her confidence and gained the admiration from other students.

The image of a young girl with no arms has touched everyone’s hearts, and she has been offered a lot of love and support so that she can continue to fulfill her dream.

A Khưnh, her father, said: “When I found out my daughter had been accepted by the university, I was very glad but a little worried.”

“I could not afford to buy her a computer for her to study information and technology,” said he added.

Fortunately, a kind-hearted person heard of her plight and decided to buy her a computer to help her pursue her education, he said.

Studying IT was not her first choice because she used to dream of becoming a teacher, but she has no regrets.

Instead, she is working hard, applying all her skills to master computers.

“Sometimes because I have to sit in front of the screen for a long time my legs are exhausted,” she said.

Tired but still determined, Y Julie’s passion still burns.

She always thinks about her parents who put her through school for 12 years, and tells herself to “never give up”.

To achieve this, Y Julie has had to work much harder than her peers.

In a poor place like Kon Drei Village, Y Julie is a warm ray of sunshine bringing confidence and motivation for many children to learn and overcome their difficulties.

Y Julie is the first person from the village to become a university student.

Her dream of going to university has come true, and the young woman is continuing to pursue her studies in a bid for future successes.

This article was originally published in Vietnamnews