|Trần Sang, a Khmer man in Sóc Trăng Province’s Trần Đề District, gets a soft loan for breeding pigs and cultivating fruits. – VNA/VNS Photo Trần Việt
SÓC TRĂNG – Sóc Trăng Province will spend nearly VNĐ800 billion (US$33.8 million) for building infrastructure in areas predominantly inhabited by ethnic Khmer people in 2021-25.
Funded by the central and local budgets, the money will be used to resolve the shortage of housing lands, housing, farming lands, and clean water for 4,500 households.
It will also be used to build infrastructure for agriculture, invest in education, build boarding schools, and preserve the customs and culture of the Khmers.
The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province has the largest number of Khmers in the region and they make up 28 per cent of its population.
Lý Rotha, head of the local Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, said the investment would help bridge the gap in living standards and incomes between the ethnic group and the wider population.
In recent years the province has mobilised funds from various sources to develop livelihoods and jobs and invest in infrastructure in Khmer areas, significantly improving the ethnic people’s lives.
It has given cash and gifts worth VNĐ40 billion ($1.7 million) to ethnic households during festivals and ceremonies this year, and provided soft loans worth VNĐ56 billion ($2.4 million) for them to carry on agriculture or do business, according to the committee.
In Trần Đề District, where more than 50 per cent of the population is Khmer, infrastructure and social welfare projects have received a lot of investment, helping many households escape poverty.
It has gifted minority families health insurance cards, seedlings and animals for breeding.
Lâm Sên of Trần Đề’s Liêu Tú Commune said he received VNĐ50 million ($2,100) from local authorities, which he augmented with VNĐ22 million ($930), to rebuild his dilapidated house.
“With the new house, my family feels secure.”
In Thạnh Trị District, where the Khmer account for nearly 34 per cent of the population, their lives have improved because of the effective implementation of support policies.
Nguyễn Thị Pha Lý in the district’s Hưng Lợi Town has been given a soft loan from the province’s fund for supporting farmers to buy buffaloes for breeding.
Local authorities also gave her a cow for breeding.
With two buffaloes and cows each, she has managed to escape poverty, she said.
Liêu Trinh Huý, head of the district Ethnic Minority Affairs Board, said the shortage of housing land and houses for ethnic people would be resolved by 2025.
The district also aims to train 50 per cent of ethnic people of working ages in vocational skills and provide 98 per cent of ethnic people with health insurance by 2025, he added.
Sóc Trăng hopes to reduce the rate of poverty among the Khmer by 3 – 4 percentage points a year.
It has 9,900 poor Khmer households, or 9.8 per cent of the total Khmer number, according to its Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs. – VNS