Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Ethnic VN Party member fights poverty




Ethnic VN Party member fights poverty

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Vang Thi Cau (right) guides an ethnic minority woman on making handicraft product at the Lanh Trang (White Flax) Agricultural and Forestry Services Cooperative in northern mountainous Ha Giang province’s Sa Phin commune. DANGCONGSAN.VN/VIET NAM NEWS

Ethnic VN Party member fights poverty

Vang Thi Cau has launched a project that has helped many disadvantaged ethnic minority women in Vietnam’s Ha Giang province escape poverty.

The Lanh Trang (White Flax) Agricultural and Forestry Services Cooperative was established by Cau in Dong Van district’s Sa Phin commune in late 2017 to provide free vocational training and stable jobs and incomes for local women.

Dong Van is one of the country’s poorest districts and most locals are from ethnic minority groups and have limited skills, according to Cau, vice-chairwoman of the district’s Women’s Association.

“Many women in the province are illiterate due to poverty and many of them are unemployed,” she said.

Born in a poor family of the Hmong ethnic minority group in Dong Van district’s Pho Cao Commune, Cau said she only started the first grade at a local primary school when she was 17 years old.

“That’s why I understand how important it is to be educated. But not many ethnic minority women have such opportunities.

“Barren land and unfavourable climate conditions also make agricultural work difficult, making it hard to escape poverty,” Cau said.

She said illiteracy and poverty also put them at a higher risk of domestic violence, human trafficking and illegal labour export.

“We decided to set up the cooperative to help improve the living conditions of local women,” she said.

Up to 90 per cent of women in the commune are from the Hmong ethnic minority group and have a traditional craft of flax weaving but due to a lack of guidance, direction and sources of outputs, the craft has gradually faded away, she added.

“Many of them are very skilled at flax weaving. So we set up the cooperative to promote the traditional craft and tapping local women’s potential.”

But it was not easy initially, Cau recalled.

Challenges piled up as Cau had to figure out everything herself from setting goals, designing products, providing vocational training to finding outputs for the products.

However, Cau did not give up.

“At first it was not easy to persuade local women to join the cooperative as they could not believe that the model could succeed.

“I planned that vocational training for local women would be completed in the first two months after the cooperative was established and then they could start producing products for sale. However, the first month passed but everything was still just on paper as no one wanted to join.

“Most of them were so shy and did not think they were capable of doing the job well and were unsure the cooperative would succeed.

“Their suffering had also made them more reserved.

“I had to spend almost a month at their houses to talk, persuade and provide vocational training for them,” Cau said.

Gradually, she said, they became more open when they met other women in similar situations, and that gave them the confidence to try.

Their efforts paid off when the first order came. “It gave all of us motivation to move on,” she said.

Their products, including blankets, pillow covers, handbags, bags and wallets, are not only popular among domestic and foreign tourists visiting Ha Giang, but are also exported to many countries, including Japan, Laos, Thailand, the US and Germany.

The cooperative has so far created jobs for 95 women from poor households in 15 out of the 19 communes in Dong Van district, Cau said. Each of them now has a stable income of three to six million dong ($130-260) per month.

“Last year, we helped nine women escape poverty,” she said.

Sung Thi Sy, a member of the cooperative, said: “My life has been much improved since I joined the cooperative.”

Sy was a victim of domestic violence due to poverty, but the stable job and income provided by the cooperative has helped her immensely.

“My husband no longer beats me. We are happier now,” Sy said.

“We can also afford more rice, meat and warm clothes for my kids,” she said.

Dong Van district’s People’s Committee vice-chairman Dinh Chi Thanh said the cooperative has helped empower many ethnic minority women to escape poverty sustainably.

Cau said she planned to expand the model to other communes to help more disadvantaged women change their lives.

“Only when women have stable jobs and incomes can they have more opportunities to master their lives,” she said.

VIET NAM NEWS/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.