|Lô Thị Quyên, in Xốp Cháo Village, the central province of Nghệ An, developed a herd of 20 cows and buffaloes from a bank loan. Photo danviet.vn|
NGHỆ AN — A series of bank loans are helping Khơ Mú ethnic minority people in Xốp Cháo Village, the central province of Nghệ An, to escape poverty.
Xốp Cháo, Lượng Minh Commune, is a poor area with no roads, no electricity and no telephone network, in Tương Dương border district.
A total of 109 households with 457 Khơ Mú ethnic people on a natural land area of 6,972 hectares live in the village.
In recent years, policy banks have tried to bring credit capital to help local people develop production and overcome poverty.
Village elder, Lô Tấn Đào, 80, said: "Compared to the hard life in the past, the people's lives today are better. Children have been going to school from primary to high school.”
"Before 1960, people lacked rice for six months a year, and lived only by digging sweet potatoes and cassava in the forest."
Since 1960, the State’s ethnic minority area support policies have aided remote regions liked Xốp Cháo to help local improve people's lives.
"But ethnic minority people's thinking cannot be changed immediately, partly because of customs, and they do not have money or know how to do business, while there is almost no trade here, which local people are not eager to," said Đào.
The only way to reach the village is by motorboat across the Nậm Nơn River. It takes about 40 minutes from the wharf of the Bản Vẽ Hydroelectric dam.
Deputy Director of the Nghệ An Provincial Bank for Social Policy Nguyễn Văn Vinh said that the Social Policy Bank paid special attention to mountainous and remote areas, especially those with a large number of ethnic minorities such as Xốp Cháo.
"The bank ensures that families with real needs and suitable conditions can access credit," Vinh said.
The bank also realises that coordination with local authorities to educate local people and changing bad habits and old production methods is key to reducing poverty.
The first loans, VNĐ5 million each (with no interest), from the bank helped many families buy cattle and develop effective livestock, said the head of Xốp Cháo, Lô Văn Hưng.
"Many households now have capital for production and business to improve family income and afford children's education," he said.
Lô Thị Quyên, a 30-year-old local woman, said that she and her husband got married with no money, and quickly decided to take a loan to raise cattle.
After the first loan of VNĐ5 million two years ago, she borrowed a further VNĐ80 million to develop a herd of 20 cows and buffaloes.
She has just spent VNĐ80 million from selling cows to repair her house and is currently raising 13 buffaloes and cows.
“Life is much better now. We are very happy to have a new house," Lò Thị Quyên said.
The bank has given loans to 76 households in Xốp Cháo, with the value of VNĐ2.8 billion so far.
“People's lives have gradually been stabilised, the current per capita income is estimated at VNĐ8 -10 million per person, per year,“ village leader Lô Văn Hưng said.
“The number of households doing good production is increasing, so the number of poor households reduces.”
Nguyễn Văn Hải, secretary of Tương Dương District Party Committee, said: "The biggest achievement from the bank's credit loan policy is to change the thinking and production form of ethnic minorities."
"When people's thoughts change, they will know how to build the will to be self-reliant to get out of poverty, which is the premise to open up a brighter future for them."
Xốp Cháo is among the remote areas of Nghệ An's ongoing rural power supply project that was approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
“It’s expected that the village will access nation grid electricity soon,” said Hải. VNS