Dong Nai reduces poverty
DONG NAI — Nguyen Duc Linh remembers very clearly the state of destitution he and his family lived in not too long ago.
Ho Viet Tieu at his 20ha farm in Ngoc Dinh Commune, Dinh Quan District, Dong Nai Province where he has become much better off after joining a poverty-reduction club.—VNA/VNS Photo Duong Ngoc
"We were very poor. We had no land for farming and I had to find work has a hired labourer. Life was very difficult."
Linh's fortunes changed after he became a member of the Poverty Reduction Club in Binh Xuan 1 Hamlet located in the southern province of Dong Nai.
After joining the club, Linh was able to lease 5,000sq.m of rice field for production. The club also helped him buy rice seeds, fertiliser and pesticides on credit and taught him farming techniques.
"My family has now escaped poverty and our living condition is much better than before," he said.
The club, which was set up four years ago in Xuan Loc District's Xuan Phu Commune, has 25 members, most of whom it has helped escape poverty in a sustainable way.
Following up on the club's success, Xuan Phu Commune set up two more.
Nguyen Van Linh, chairman of the Xuan Phu Commune People's Committee, said the three clubs had 94 household members, only five of whom remained poor.
The club is one of several models that have helped tens of thousands of poor households in Dong Nai Province escape poverty over the past five years.
Another model that has proved effective is a fund set up by the Bau Tram Commune Women's Union in Long Khanh Town. The fund, which provides interest-free loans to members, have helped many women, especially those from the ethnic minorities, get out of poverty.
Pham Thi Binh, chairwoman of the Bau Tram Commune Women's Union, asked each member to deposit VND50,000-100,000 to the fund. The money collected was given as an interest-free loan to poor members to meet their production needs or capital needed to do business.
To help women use the loans effectively, the union, which now has 1,200 members, organises regular monthly meetings to discuss issues of concern.
Tho Dieu, a Cho Ro ethnic minority member, is one of many that the fund has helped out of poverty.
Dieu was provided a loan of VND20 million from the fund to breed livestock and grow corn on 5,000sq.m of land.
"I have paid back all my loans to the fund so other members can borrow the money for their needs," she said.
In the 2006-10 five-year period, the province's poverty reduction programme has successfully helped 54,485 households, meeting 141.5 per cent of its target.
The province now has 39,958 households, or 6.22 per cent, living under the poverty line. The province deems a household poor if its monthly income is less than VND650,000 per person in rural areas and VND850,000 in urban areas.
The national poverty line is VND400,000 per person per household in rural areas and VND500,000 in urban areas.
Dong Nai aims to reduce the rate of poor households in the province by 1.5 per cent per year during the 2011-15 five-year period.
To meet this target, the province plans to implement several measures, especially strengthening propaganda activities to raise awareness and encourage the poor to help themselves and each other to escape poverty.
The provincial poverty reduction programme steering committee has said it would provide support through loans, agricultural extension services, vocational training, building houses and provision of free health care and education.
However, the key factor in poverty reduction was the will and determination of households to uplift themselves, it said. — VNS