|Đinh Thị Hằng, right, helps Ca Dong ethnic minority people give up alcohol. VNA/VNS Photo|
QUẢNG NGÃI - A village in Quảng Ngãi Province had the unfortunate nickname “Village of drunks” because so many people would spend all day drinking alcohol.
But now the Chairwoman of the Women's Union of Sơn Màu commune is helping Ca Dong ethnic minority people kick the habit and give up booze for good.
Hằng from Sơn Tây District in Quảng Ngãi Province said: “Only when they give up alcohol can the Ca Dong people get out of poverty. By all means possible, we must change the perception of locals.”
Đắk Pao village, Sơn Màu Commune, is home to 50 households of Ca Dong people with half of them classed as poor.
It earned its nickname because many local men spent all day binge drinking.
Women too would often be seen knocking back the beers which led to very few people doing any work, so poverty was high.
Drinking a lot of alcohol entailed many consequences, turning men who were the breadwinners of the family to become sick and no longer able to work.
“Local authority officials, many times, came to families and saw both husband and wife drunk,” Hằng said.
"The habit of abusing alcohol has been deeply ingrained in people, leading to a painful domestic violence problem.”
At a meeting in 2019, Hằng boldly proposed to the communal Party Committee the idea of launching the model "Women say no to alcohol", piloted in the Đắk Pao Village.
The authorities of Sơn Màu Commune also determined that for Đắk Pao Village to escape poverty, there was no other way than to change the way of thinking and bad habits of the Ca Dong people.
After that meeting, the communal authorities came to the decision to implement the model and assigned the communal Women's Union to host and operate this campaign.
According to Đinh Văn Lia, Chairman of Sơn Mau Commune People's Committee, in the families of the Ca Dong ethnic group, there is now a very equal division of labour between husband and wife. Women were respected.
“To have an impact on changing people's drinking habits, we must first change women's perceptions," said Lia.
After consulting with the elderly in the village, the communal Women's Union established a team to monitor cases of over-drinking. Households in the village even signed a commitment not to abuse alcohol.
"When implementing the model, we immediately received the approval of most of the households," Lia said.
"Everyone wants to have a better life, but maybe they need someone or an organisation to help them get ahead.
“In many cases, despite our best efforts to persuade, the drunkenness still recurred.
"Sometimes I think it's really frustrating, but when I look at the children, I feel so sorry, I can't let the children continue to see their parents in a drunken state."
Three years ago, couple Đinh Văn Tôn and Đinh Thị Mười, were both heavy drinkers.
They were often drunk, leaving their two children at home.
The community group of the Women's Union fined the couple for violating the terms of the agreement.
After that, both Tôn and his wife gradually stopped drinking and became more interested in doing business.
After three years of implementing the campaign to quit drinking, the lives of the people of Đắk Pao Village have changed completely. Currently, the number of poor households is only 10.
"Hopefully, with the companionship and support of the State, the village will increasingly change and peace and happiness will spread throughout the houses of the Ca Dong people", Hằng said. VNS