by Xuan Hiep and Ngoc Phuongø
Older Vietnamese become fans of Facebook
Last month, Nguyen Thi Yen Nga, 55, and her friends joined a class in HCM City that provides training in basic internet applications. A housewife, Nga had never worked in an office or had a computer at home.
Today, she knows how to transfer photos from her camera to a computer, and edit and post photos on Facebook. She can send emails with attachments, search for information online, listen to music, watch films and use Skype.
The Centre for Science and Technology Development, which is part of the HCM City Communist Youth Union, began the classes in 2013. The one-month class, once offered for free, now requires a small fee.
Vu Ngoc Phat, 65, owner of a small bamboo furniture company in District 12, attended the class to learn how to use email.
"Many of my customers complained about not having access to email," he said.
Another student, Tang Thi Hong, 63, from Tan Binh District, particularly likes Facebook, where she can post photos, share thoughts and add friends.
The students in the classes, which are tailored for older Vietnamese, share poems, photos and birthday wishes on Facebook. They have also formed a club to share their knowledge about the internet.
Young farmer turns a profit on previously barren hills
Standing at the top of a once-barren hill, Le Khanh Toan surveyed the large expanse of land that is now covered with orange trees and green vegetation.
"The weather condition was severe, and the hill was very far from the market and residential area," he said of the site in Ha Tinh Province's Duc Bong Commune.
Ten years ago, while all of his friends left the central province of Ha Tinh to escape poverty, Toan decided to become a farmer.
He consulted agricultural promotion staff, conducted research, and experimented in growing various kinds of plants. Then he bought three hectares of land on the hill, and cleared, weeded and smoothed its surface.
At first, he bred chickens and planted crops with a short growing period like sugarcane and cassava. After accumulating enough capital, Toan decided to plant 200 orange trees, but they gave poor quality fruit and had to be cut down.
Undaunted, he sought more information and planted another orange tree variety. Ultimately, his efforts paid off. To earn more money, he sold the oranges directly to dealers who visited his farm. He continued to breed poultry and livestock, and with the increase in income, he bought more trees.
He now owns 9ha of land and makes billions of dong a year.
Over the years, Toan has taught agricultural skills to many of the farmers who grow crops on the hill. In 2011, he won a national prize for being an "excellent young farmer". — VNS