Village head leads by example

December 21, 2021 - 08:33

Alao Village is full of joy these days as villagers enjoy a bumper rice harvest and prepare for the new year celebrations. 


Bahnar man Yôh (second from right) has been the head of Alao Village for more than ten years. — VNA/VNS Photo

GIA LAI — Alao Village is full of joy these days as villagers enjoy a bumper rice harvest and prepare for the new year celebrations. 

The village is in Pơ Lang Commune, Mang Yang District in the Central Highland of Gia Lai. The head of the village, a 41-year-old man called Yôh from the Bahnar ethnic group, is busy visiting rice fields and congratulating villagers.

Having been the village head for more than ten years, Yôh gained the trust of the village thanks to his enthusiasm and goodness. 

Hngum, an elderly in the village, said that the village used to be chaotic as some villagers followed the Hà Mòn evil cult due to an improper understanding.

“It was Yôh who helped the gullible villagers back to a normal life. Yôh made them understand and trust the policies of Party and State,” Hngum said.

“Our village is now peaceful. No one in the village follows the evil cult,” he said, adding that villagers happily worked to get out of poverty.

Alao is a remote village of nearly 200 households of the Bahnar ethnic group. Previously, more than half of the households were poor. They mostly relied on growing cassava and rice to earn their living but the farming was not efficient.

Yôh was among the pioneers who converted inefficient rice-growing areas into coffee and pepper that helped his family and others prosper.

Yoh said that he was born and raised in the care of Alao villagers. More than ten years ago, he was elected as the village head. 

“To meet the expectations and the trust of villagers, I’m not afraid of difficulties,” Yôh said, adding that he learnt experiences from many places to guide local farmers shift to more productive crops and livestock.

Yoh said that he collaborated with the village elders and reputable persons in the community to regularly visit families of people who believed in the evil cult.

“We went to their houses, reached to their farms, talked with them again and again. Once they understood, they could then turn their backs on fanaticism and return to normal life and community,” he said. 

Yoh usually organises meetings with villagers so that he can hear their thoughts and aspirations and promptly reports them to the  Commune People's Committee to solve public concerns.

Yoh also directly participated in the settling conflicts and frustrations of the people. 

To improve incomes for villagers, five years ago, with support from the village elders and prestigious persons in the village, Yôh signed a contract to manage and protect 300 ha of forest. 

He assigned villagers to go on patrol to manage and protect the forest.

In the past five years, Alao village collected VNĐ 1 billion from forest management and protection. Half of the sum was paid to people who directly manage, protect, patrol and monitor the forest every week.

The remaining VNĐ 500 million were spent on repairing a football field, a school, making a concrete yard for a cultural house and establishing a livelihood support fund for people.

Each family in the village can borrow up to VNĐ5 million to buy fertilisers, coffee seeds, cows and goats to develop the family economy. Thanks to such practical activities, the lives of Alao people are becoming more and more stable. More and more households in the village escaped from poverty.

A villager named Kim said that in the past, his family was a poor household and rice farming was not enough to feed his large family.

Since Yôh taught him to grow coffee, Kim’s family economy was better.

Kim said that now, his family had enough food to eat and could send children to school as he earned from growing coffee and rice and from patrolling and protecting the forest.

“In Alao village, everyone loves Yoh because he would try his best to help people make ends meet,” Kim said.

As joining in forest management and protection, the Alao village community are better aware of the need for environmental and ecological protection.

They carefully nurture and protect a fairly large area of ​​wild rosemary trees to preserve the genetic resources of the rare forest trees. 

Particularly, Yoh's garden has more than 2,000 five-year-old rosewood trees.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Yoh called on Protestant followers not to gather in crowds, instructing them to implement disease prevention and control measures effectively.

Through his contributions to the common development of the Bahnar community in Alao village, Yoh has always been trusted and appreciated by the local authorities. 

Đinh Thị Lan, Deputy Secretary of the Party Committee of Lơ Pang Commune said that Yoh worked responsibly. He completed the tasks assigned by the local authority. 

“He always actively comes up with solutions to work with the government and the Commune Party Committee to solve the shortcomings and limitations in the village,” he said. — VNS