Migrants dream of establishing village

Last update 13:00 | 10/06/2018

VietNamNet Bridge – Half a year ago, the couple Ly Seo Xi and Trang Thi Tong moved to a temporarily iron-sheet house on barren land in which there remain tree roots.

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Migrants build temporary houses on the isolated land. — Photo danviet.vn

Their 18-month-old baby, Ly Thi Hoa, who had her hand burned by boiled water four days ago, is playing on the ground, and occasionally crying out in pain.

Xi said that he bought medicine for his young daughter. Tiếp tục đọc “Migrants dream of establishing village”

Ethnic costumes performed at Bauhinia Festival

Last update 11:40 | 20/03/2018

A competition for the traditional costume performances of ethnic minority groups was held in Dien Bien Phu City on March 18 as part of the 2018 Bauhinia Festival.

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The event attracts the participation of 36 contestants on 12 local ethnic teams. Tiếp tục đọc “Ethnic costumes performed at Bauhinia Festival”

‘Phết mặt nhọ’ rước sinh thực khí khắp cánh đồng cầu an

 – Sáng nay (rằm tháng Giêng), hàng ngàn du khách đổ về xã Trấn Yên, Bắc Yên, Lạng Sơn tham dự lễ hội rước sinh thực khí cầu an của cộng đồng người Tày nơi đây.

Lễ hội Ná Nhèm (tiếng Tày nghĩa là phết mặt nhọ) là lễ hội tưởng nhớ Đức thánh Cao Sơn Quý Minh là thành hoàng làng Mỏ (xã Trấn Yên, Bắc Sơn, Lạng Sơn). Lễ hội được phục dựng từ năm 2012, sau nửa thế kỷ thất truyền. Tiếp tục đọc “‘Phết mặt nhọ’ rước sinh thực khí khắp cánh đồng cầu an”

Central Highlands struggle to settle immigrants

vietnamnews Update: December, 11/2017 – 09:55

Students at a makeshift class in central Highlands Lâm Đồng Province. – Photo thiennhien.net.vn

ĐẮK LẮK –  Sùng Dao Cán and his wife have cut down trees in a forest and on a hill to plant cassava and build a bare shack as they struggle to eke out a living.

“I know it (deforestation) is wrong, but it is not just me. Many others have also done this to grow corn and cassava just to survive,” Cán told the Nhân dân (People) newspaper.

Cán and his wife moved half-way across the country from their home in northern border province of Cao Bang two years ago. His family is just one of many who reside in Zone 265, a makeshift residential area at the edge of the Cư M’lan Commune in Đắk Lắk Province.

The zone is about 30km away from the commune centre, but it takes more than two hours on bike on trails to reach it. Roughly 100 makeshift shacks with straw and wooden poles stand next to a vast area, once a thick forest, now dotted with dry tree stumps.

Most of the residents here belong to ethnic minority communities, like Cán and his wife, who are of Dao ethnicity.

Cán said all his neighbours in Zone 265 have done the same thing, not knowing what else they can do to make ends meet other than clearing some land for farming. They also share similar stories of hardship about “the promised land,” living without electricity, clean water or even a proper road to go anywhere. There is no school for their children and no clinic to go to when they fall sick. They are still mired and trapped in the same stark poverty they tried to escape from.

Worse still, authorities have been unprepared for an intensified migration over the last decade or so. The migration to the Central Highlands from other parts of the country, first encouraged as Government policy, has got out of hand, officials now admit.

At least one official pronouncement in 2014 said the policy of encouraging migration to the Central Highlands was no longer being pursued.

According to the Central Highlands Steering Committee, about 25,732 households with more than 91,000 members have moved to the region over the last 12 years (2005-2017). Most of these immigrants are from ethnic minority communities in the northern mountainous northern region. They have spread out to all five provinces in the Central Highlands region, with Gia Lai and Kon Tum topping the list with 23,624 and 21,708 people respectively. More than 16,000 have settled down in Đắk Nông and Đắk Lắk and over 14,600 are in Lâm Đồng.

A recent report by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development says that a large number of immigrants to the Central Highlands tend to live on the edge or in the heart of protected forests, where deforestation “occurs regularly”.

As the immigrants are not registered local households, they are not entitled to any social welfare. They are disproportionately unemployed and poor, the report says.

Nguyễn Hoài Dương, director of the Đắk Lắk Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said a survey last year showed that ethnic minority and immigrant households account for up to 61 per cent of poor households in the province.

“In the immigrant areas, several social issues like drug abuse, high fertility rate and illiteracy have become complicated and difficult to resolve, and the situation has worsened lately,” Dương said.

Projects suspended

Zone 179 was first formed around 20 years ago when a couple of Mông families from the north migrated to Lâm Đồng Province’s Đam Rông Commune.

Provincial authorities tried to relocate them to a village in a neighbouring district, but they returned to Zone 179 after a while.

Now, more than 550 Mông people are currently living in Zone 179, including older generations and new ones who’ve kept coming in from the north.

One immigrant, Ma Seo Cháng, said that the zone has no school or clinic.

“We just have some people to teach the children how to read and write. When we get sick, we have to go through the forest to either the commune centre or the neighbouring district in Đắk Nông Province,” he said.

Changing their policy, local authorities decided to invest in infrastructure in  Zone 179 instead of trying to resettle the local residents. However, the continued influx of immigrants to the zone meant that the investment plans had to be adjusted several times, and finally, suspended.

Similar reasons have forced the suspension of another project in Tây Sơn, Lâm Đồng, and two others in the communes of Cư Pui and Cư K’bang in Đắk Lắk.

Investment projects in Gia Lai and Đắk Nông provinces are also being adjusted to keep up with the increasing immigrant flow.

Funding has become a major challenge to local authorities there. According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Government had agreed to let Central Highlands provinces carry out 30 immigrant settlement projects with a total investment of more than VNĐ1.6 trillion (VNĐ71.1 million) in the 2013-2016 period.

But, until the end of last year, just VNĐ691 billion, or about 43 per cent of the planned investment, had been disbursed.

The funding shortage has severely delayed resettlement projects, with just two out of the 30 completed so far.  Others are lagging behind, leaving residents in the lurch.

Lâm Đồng Chairman Đoàn Văn Việt said that while the funding problem was obvious, finding resettlement areas for immigrants was also a big headache for local authorities.

“Planning housing and farming land for the immigrants will inevitably involve forests as there is no extra land available for them now,” Việt said.

“Most people suggest that the resettlement areas are set up right where the immigrants have been staying (in the forest). But in order to do that, we have to convert forest land to land for housing and farming, which, under the law, is not within the jurisdiction of provincial authorities.

“We should do this on humanitarian considerations, but it is against the law.” — VNS

Khmer weavers tell stories through brocades

vietnamnews Update: November, 18/2017 – 09:00

Precision: Neang Samon, a local weaver, works on her draw loom.
Viet Nam News The Khmer people in southern An Giang Province take pride in their age-old tradition of brocade weaving. Local artisans in the province produce products including scarves, tablecloths, dresses and even murals depicting folklore stories and legends. Tiếp tục đọc “Khmer weavers tell stories through brocades”

Australia funds to empower women economically

Update: November, 09/2017 – 11:00 vietnamnews

Women in Lào Cai Province make products from traditional cloths and fibres. Aus4Equality expects to increase the incomes of 40,000 self-employed female farmers in Lào Cai and Sơn La provinces. – VNA/VNS Photo
Viet Nam News ĐÀ NẴNG – Australia will invest AU$33.7 million (US$25.6 million) through the new Aus4Equality programme, focusing on Sơn La and Lào Cai provinces in the north-west of Việt Nam.

The new initiative to support women’s economic empowerment was announced by the Hon Julie Bishop MP, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 29th APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM). Tiếp tục đọc “Australia funds to empower women economically”

Struggle to manage Muong Phang forest

Last update 15:34 | 03/11/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – Management of the Muong Phang forest in the northern mountain province of Dien Bien had faced a number of difficulties, said Nguyen Viet Cuong, director of the Muong Phang Forest and Environment Management Board.

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An area of the Muong Phang special use forest in the northern province of Dien Bien. — Photo vov.vn

The forest has a total area of more than 4,400ha, covering Pa Khoang and Muong Phang communes in Dien Bien District, according to Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s Decision 1976/QĐ-TTg issued on October 30, 2014.

The Muong Phang Forest and Environment Management Board manages more than 1,000ha based on Decision 611/QĐ-UBND issued by the Dien Bien Province People’s Committee on July 24, 2015.

The management board, Cuong said, had only eight workers so inspections were not performed regularly. Tiếp tục đọc “Struggle to manage Muong Phang forest”

Beautiful homestays in northern Ha Giang province

Last update 16:03 | 28/10/2017

Homestay services are springing up throughout the northern province of Ha Giang. Visitors can now choose to stay at beautiful homestays in Quang Ba, Dong Van, and Meo Vac districts.

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Tha Hamlet is around 4km from the centre of Ha Giang City. It is home to Tay ethnic minority people and famous for its many cultural traditions and the pristine natural beauty. Tiếp tục đọc “Beautiful homestays in northern Ha Giang province”

An obstacles course for highlands kids


Update: October, 07/2017 – 09:00

A young boy (centre) braves the weather and bad road conditions to go to school in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông. — Photo thethaovanhoa.vn
Viet Nam News HÀ NỘI — Fifth grader Đinh Thị Phương and her friends go swimming every day, but it is not a recreational activity.

They go swimming because they have no other way to get to school. Tiếp tục đọc “An obstacles course for highlands kids”

Rice paintings in Kon Tum highlight Central Highlands


Update: October, 01/2017 – 09:00

Participation: A tourist learns to make a rice painting under the guidance of Đăng. — Photo Courtesy of Hồng Điệp

Viet Nam News by Phạm Thị Hồng Điệp

Kon Tum City, the capital of Kon Tum Province bordering Laos and Cambodia, is recognised for a massive assembly of ethnic groups and their distinctive cultures.

Part of its long history in Central Highlands culture are rice paintings. The best place to witness these paintings is at Hồ Village, located at Bắc Kạn Street, Kon Tum City. The village offers visitors a visual feast in art works. Tiếp tục đọc “Rice paintings in Kon Tum highlight Central Highlands”

Artisan strives to keep Khao melodies alive


Update: September, 24/2017 – 09:00

Group music: Folk artisan Vàng Sín Phìn (third from left) practices the Thu Lao people’s melodies with women in the village. — Photo baolaocai.vn
Vàng Sín Phìn, a musical maestro from the northern province of Lào Cai, has dedicated himself to collecting musical instruments and preserving the folklore melodies of his people. Through painstaking study, Phìn has mastered the local musical instruments, ensuring that the mountainous music will be passed on to a new generation. Hồng Ninh and Cao Hương report. Tiếp tục đọc “Artisan strives to keep Khao melodies alive”

Explore the H’mong King’s Palace in Ha Giang

Last update 15:13 | 06/09/2017

The H’mong King’s Palace is considered a gem of the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang, and is a popular tourist destination besides the Dong Van Stone Plateau.

Lying some 130 kilometres north of Ha Giang Town, the century-old palace is still the largest construction in the area and boasts special architecture style.

According to a tour guide who is also a woman member of the King’s family at the palace, Vuong Chinh Duc (1865 – 1947), known as the king of the H’mong or Meo ethnic minority group in the area, built the palace which cost 150,000 Indochina silver coins equivalent to VND150 billion (USD 6.61 million). Duc earned his fortune from growing and trading opium. Tiếp tục đọc “Explore the H’mong King’s Palace in Ha Giang”

The man who built an alcohol-free village

Last update 16:40 | 29/07/2017

VietNamNet Bridge – People often say it’s not easy to change one’s habits, but a man from Cu Pua Village in the central province of Quang Tri has succeeded and inspired others to follow.

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A big sign that says “No drinking at home – Drink-free village” is hung at a prominent spot in Ho E Not’s house. – VNS Photo Duy Loi

Ho E Not, 44, said the villagers in Dakrong District used to consider tobacco and alcohol indispensable. Most men and women smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol, whatever the occasion. “It had become a custom. Drinking when celebrating new crops, at weddings and funerals,” he said.

Not was no exception. At the age of ten, he started smoking and drinking, growing addicted to both.

After getting married, Not continued drinking every day. To have money for alcohol and tobacco, he didn’t hesitate to sell the little rice left in the family rice basket. Tiếp tục đọc “The man who built an alcohol-free village”

Alpine ethnic people in Vietnam (8-part series)

Alpine ethnic people in Vietnam – P1: Leading lives aloft

Tuoi Tre News

Updated : 06/04/2017 11:40 GMT + 7

Members of an ethnic minority group in the northern Vietnamese province of Ha Giang, home to the UNESCO-recognized Dong Van Karst Plateau, have settled in fortress-like stone houses atop mountains for generations.

During a recent trip to Ha Giang Province, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporter visited some of the nearly 100 mountain-top hamlets in Dong Van and Meo Vac Districts where Mong ethnic minority people still reside. Tiếp tục đọc “Alpine ethnic people in Vietnam (8-part series)”

A tour around biggest ethnic market in Lai Chau

Last update 11:05 | 02/06/2017

San Thang kermis is the largest of its kind in Lai Chau, bringing together the Dao, Mong, Thai, Giay and Lu ethnic people from across the northern mountainous province.

Mong women ​from the communes of Ta Leng, Ho Thau and Sin Suoi Ho go to the market from the early morning. Tiếp tục đọc “A tour around biggest ethnic market in Lai Chau”