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Remittances boost living standards in rural areas

Update: March, 02/2012 - 10:30

THANH HOA — A small village in central Thanh Hoa Province's Thieu Hoa District has benefited from an unusually high number of remittances sent by locals who have found work in other localities and abroad.

Many households in Su Nhan 3 Village, Thieu Duy Commune have been renovated and old roads have been upgraded in the once poor agricultural village thanks to the large proportion of locals who work overseas. People in the area even call the village "the land of overseas Vietnamese".

Nearly 500 labourers, accounting for half of Su Nhan 3's population, are working far from their home. About 70 of them work abroad, said Le Van Ken, an officer at the Thieu Duy communal-level government office.

Ken said farming used to be the only source of income for local people.

"A bumper rice crop would be enough to feed them but during bad harvests people faced many difficulties," he said.

During the 1990s, larger numbers of local people set of for the big cities, including Ha Noi, HCM City and Da Nang, to seek jobs after the harvest was complete, said Ken, adding that more and more people left home thanks to the lure of work with higher incomes.

During the last five years, tens of local people had gone to work abroad. A local villager can earn about VND10-15 million ($476-714) each month if he or she finds work overseas.

Ken said Government support policies for job-seekers have also helped increasing numbers of villagers find work further afield.

"Those who wanted to work overseas had to have at least VND50-60 million ($2,380 – 2,850) to spend on training and paperwork in the past, but now this costs less, at about VND35 million ($1,660)," he said.

Local resident Le Thi Thien said three of her four sons, as well as a daughter-in-law, were working in Russia, while her husband worked in Ha Noi.

"This means there are only three people at home, including two grandchildren," she said.

The commune People's Committee vice chairman Le Xuan Thuy said most locals find work in cities as domestic helpers, labourers at construction sites or as manual labours, earning from VND3-4 million each month ($143-190). Meanwhile, average annual incomes from farming in the village are at about VND14 million ($667).

"So, people preferred to leave home for work in big urban areas," said Thuy.

The trend among local villagers to look for work further afield also came as agriculture was becoming increasingly automated, leaving farm workers with little choice but to look for other types of work.

Thuy said local authorities and labour export companies have also been helping people access more information about working abroad, a way to escape poverty.

The district People's Committee chairman Hoang Viet Chon said that along with the labour export policy of the State Government and province, the district had policies to support locals access vocational training and foreign language classes as well as information on labour markets around the world.

"For example, each job-seeker would be given VND1 million ($47) from the provincial fund and VND500,000 ($24) from district authorities to take part in job training activities," said Chon.

Last year, the district sent more than 400 workers to work in Malaysia, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Russia. It is targeting to send another 400 workers this year, Chon said, adding that the figure was remarkable for an agriculture-based district. — VNS

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