|Focal point: More than 20,000 young people, including migrant labourers, visit the city's Youth&Cultural House each week. — VNS Photos Van Dat
Cultural centres in HCM City are offering youngsters the chance to learn more about their heritage whilst giving them the chance to mix with people of their own age. Anh Thu reports.
Young labourers living in HCM City's rural districts have more opportunities to enrich their lives thanks to cultural and entertainment programmes and festivals held by local cultural houses.
Nearly 3,000 young people (from 18 to 30 years old), mostly migrant workers, visit District 11's Workers House each month to participate in short-term courses in traditional theatre, dance, music, and martial arts, all of which are organised by the house and its partners.
According to the house's deputy director Nguyen Tuan, all the entertainment programmes are free while one- to three-month training courses are reasonably priced between VND300,000 (US$14) to VND500,000.
"The centre aims to serve poor and rural young labourers who don't have much money to spend on entertainment such as cinema, music and theatre shows."
"Our training courses provide and broaden their knowledge about arts and give them access to popular studies like foreign language and information technology," he said.
The house's new three art clubs offer tai tu (nostalgia) music, cai luong (reformed theatre) and thu phap (calligraphy) training, which have attracted more than 7,000 members.
"I met my girlfriend at the cai luong club of District 11's Workers House where we share the art together," said Huynh Phuong Dong, 26, a garment worker at Tan Phu Factory.
"We plan to organise our open-air wedding party in the house later this year to celebrate the place where we fell in love," he added.
Like many of their peers, Dong and his fiancee experienced only the daily grind of working, eating and sleeping. They rarely took part in fun and entertaining activities.
"I earn only VND5 million ($220) per month and have to save nearly half my income to help support my family in Binh Thuan Province, so I do not have enough cash to indulge in entertainment," said Dong, adding that his life was more enjoyable thanks to the free programmes provided by the Workers House.
The House is not alone in its campaign to keep youth entertained.
Several other entertainment centres have tried to improve their services.
|New Year: A young woman receives a calligraphy painting from a veteran artisan at the Tet Festival launched by the Youth Cultural House in HCM City during Tet.
The city's Youth Cultural House has been working closely with other related offices and social organisations to raise money for more quality programmes for local youngsters.
"Our facilities provide music and dance programmes and organise picnics and social exchanges between students and workers," the centre's director Bui Thanh Liem said.
Most of our activities are free of charge so local young people can work hard but still afford to have fun, he added.
More than 20,000 young people flock to the house each week for displays of culture and art or participate in training courses in art such as fashion design and becoming a master of ceremony.
The centre's free music and song programmes during holidays have attracted pop stars like Dong Nhi and Noo Phuoc Thinh who often perform for free.
"My friends and I love to visit the Youth Cultural House on weekends and holidays because it has a variety of programmes that satisfy different tastes," said Tran Thi Tuyen, 20, a worker at Binh Tan Garment Company.
"The city needs to allocate more money from its budget and seek funds from the public to invest in more cultural houses in rural areas," Tuyen said. — VNS