Viet Nam News
ĐIỆN BIÊN — Tủa Chùa District, a remote and disadvantaged district in the northern mountains, used to be known as the land of opium trees.
Local residents planted the tree without knowledge of its harms to human health and society. Others were aware of the serious harm but failed to resist the profit that the trees could generate.
In 2004, local authorities launched a programme called “Peaceful family”, which promoted the role of ethnic patriarchs and leaders in the long fight against opium.
First, the patriarchs were told about the harms of opium and the State/Government’s policies concerning opium tree removal.
The patriarchs shared the news with their families and communities. They encouraged opium growers to remove opium trees and replace them with other crops.
It was not an easy task, but they did a good job. After much communication and many dialogues, some families agreed to remove their opium farms and then, step by step, other families followed.
Eventually, the State’s and Government’s policies reached every house in the mountainous districts.
The patriarchs contributed to the development of family and village regulations, so that the locals could get rid of outdated customs and develop farming and business practices to boost the local economy.
The model “Peaceful Family” has proved effective in helping remove opium in Tủa Chùa District.
Moreover, it has helped address other issues such as crime prevention and control, education, production and illegal migration.
In the last 13 years, as many as 210 family clans across the Tủa Chùa District implemented the model.
For example, the Vừ family in Trung Thu Commune, Mùa family in Sín Chải Commune, Hạng family in Tả Sìn Thàng and Mào family in Mường Báng Commune have successfully kept social order and security in their areas.
The Lờ family in Xá Nhè Commune has helped reduce poverty, and the Vì family is famous for fruitful boost to local education.
Vì A Hào, Vì family patriarch said that he is a retired teacher, so he cares much about childhood education.
The Vì family selected a group of family members to assist smaller families to manage their children’s study, Hào said, adding that all school-age children of Vì family in the Tủa Chùa District can go to school.
Two members of Vì family earned master degrees, and five other members graduated universities.
Vì A Dũng, vice head of the District’s Police Department, said that patriarchs have co-operated with police to help local residents learn and understand more about laws and regulations.
They also advised their family members not cross borders illegally and take precaution against distorted information to avoid crimes.
Mùa Ngọc Tú, chairman of Tủa Chùa District People’s Committee said that the “Peaceful family” model has helped ensure social order and security and improve living conditions in the district.
The model also helped tighten social solidarity among local residents, he said. — VNS