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Mountain settlements help youth build easier lives

Update: August, 16/2015 - 04:22

All in a day's work: Youth Union members clear paths at the Youth Settlement Village in Phin Sang. — Photos hagiang.gov.vn

by Xuan Tung

These days, ethnic minority residents in Minh Tan Commune, Vi Xuyen District, in the northernmost province of Ha Giang share the same hope for a better life as anyone anywhere else in the country, thanks to a project building a Youth Settlement Village in Phin Sang Village.

The project was initiated by the Youth Union Central Committee in coordination with ministries and Ha Giang authorities, and was approved by the Prime Minister.

Minh Tan Commune is surrounded on all sides by mountains. Although the commune is less than 10km from Highway 4C, it took us over an hour to reach it by car.

The bumpy road was rocky all through, and slippery, making it harder for us as the car had to carefully negotiate every metre of the road stretch.

The officials of the Ha Giang provincial Youth Union said the condition of the access road to the commune has been improved recently, while earlier, people could trudge till here only by motorcycle, that too on clear days. During rainy days, they had to necessarily walk.

Minh Tan is the poorest commune in Vi Xuyen District.

People's life mainly revolves around agriculture and nature, and farming remains at a subsistence level.

The 1,303 households of the commune, comprising mainly ethnic minorities, have 350 households that are headed by youth. More than 70 per cent of local families are poor.

Phan Thi Sinh, 60, whose family owns a well-built house in Phin Sang Village and is considered well-off, said her family can only produce one rice crop and one corn crop a year to avoid hunger.

Sinh, a Dao ethinic woman, said this year her family had already harvested maize, but could not grow rice because there was no water in their field.

"From the second to the sixth month in the lunar calendar every year, this region suffers a terrible lack of water. We don't even have enough water to carry on with our daily lives," she said.

Moo-ving forward: Villagers use new livestock rearing techniques to improve cow quality as part of a project organised by the Youth Union and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Minh Tan Youth Settlement Village is part of a plan to build 15 Youth Villages during 2013-2020. The Youth Union Central Committee, in coordination with local authorities and ministries, had come up with this plan that was approved by the Prime Minister.

The Secretary of the Youth Union Central Committee, Nguyen Anh Tuan, said the Youth Settlement Village aims to support young people, especially those in rural and mountainous areas, to stabilize life and develop family economy.

"Building a youth village will be an opportunity for local people in Minh Tan to reduce poverty," he said.

Overcoming poverty

Residents in Phin Sang Village and Minh Tan Commune hope for and believe in a prosperous and easier life, thanks to the Youth Settlement Village. Numerous people wearing the traditional costumes of the Dao and youth volunteers were present at the launching ceremony to construct the village.

Households of the Youth Union members have signed commitments to participate in the project with the provincial Youth Union leaders and Minh Tan Commune leaders.

Many activities were carried out after the launching ceremony as: Actively participating in volunteer activities; building infrastructure; participating in training classes for livestock breeding techniques, cultivation, and environment protection.

Many households in the area are willing to give land to the project to build the Youth Settlement Village, just like Phan Thi Sinh.

"Giving land for construction of the village will lead to a better life for our children. My sons and their wives have all agreed," she said happily.

Be Hong Quan, 30, a Tay ethnic man in Phin Sang Village, who is the mainstay of a small family with his wife and a small child, said he believed that in the very near future, the Youth Village would have electricity and convenient means of transport, that will help improve the life, culture and access to education.

"By participating in the Youth Settlement Village, we will have an opportunity to receive knowledge, scientific and technical measures and information for integrated human development," he said.

Representing the investors, Secretary of Ha Giang Youth Union Vuong Ngoc Ha said the Youth Settlement Village would cover the entire Phin Sang Village with a total area of 1,098ha.

"The goal is to have 40 households of young people to settle in the village and offer a stable life to 113 other local households. We will create 100 permanent jobs," he said.

The village has a total investment of more than VND48.5 billion (US$2.3 million), with civil constructions such as a cultural club, a kindergarten, housing for the project Management Board, teachers' housing, a warehouse for farm produce and medicinal herbs.

"We are striving towards the aim to make the village a role model by 2018 for economic and infrastructure development.

"Agricultural production should follow the direction of commodity production, to ensure food security and improve the value of produce," said Ha. — VNS

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