A preschool is built by Regiment 720 in Đắk Ngo Commune, Đắk Nông Province. — Photo baodaknong.org.vn
ĐẮK NÔNG — The lives of ethnic minorities in many localities in the Central Highlands province of Đắk Nông have changed for the better since the soldiers of Military 16, Regiment 720 were stationed there.
More than 20 years ago, soldiers in the regiment were assigned to protect the border in Đắk Nông’s Tuy Đức District and help the minority community develop economically.
Đắk Ngo Commune is one of the two most impoverished communes in Tuy Đức District and through the muddy road to the commune is treacherous during the rainy season, it can't stop the soldiers helping out.
They began to build a new economic model, helping ethnic minorities stabilise their lives.
They have planted coffee, pepper, cashew and rubber and encouraged local people to get involved with their farming.
Sùng Cháy Tàng, a farmer from Si Át Village in the commune, said his family came to Đắk Ngo in 2002.
“Following the call of soldiers of Regiment 720, I agreed to take part in their project. My family was granted 1ha of land for cultivation. The soldiers also provided technical assistance in planting to get effective crops. My family's situation has changed over the years, buying more land for economic development,” Tàng told online Đắk Nông newspaper.
In Giang Châu Village, Trần Văn Triền’s family is one of the households that has worked with Regiment 720 from the first years the unit was stationed in Đắk Ngo Commune.
“My family went to many provinces and cities to earn a living. But it was not easy. We came to Đắk Ngo and were assigned to care of 2ha of rubber trees intercropped with coffee and pepper by Regiment 720,” said Châu.
“Every day, the soldiers help me use scientific techniques in planting. My family's life is more and more stable thanks to their help," he said.
Colonel Nguyễn Đình Tụ, commander of Regiment 720 said improving the quality of life for people here was an important task, contributing to stabilising the political situation and security.
"More than 600 households in the villages of Giang Châu, Sín Chải, Si Át and Tân Bình are assigned to plant rubber, coffee, cashew ... and have a stable life. Many households can build houses and buy cars, tractors and ploughs," Tụ said.
Regiment 720 has also invested dozens of billions of đồng to upgrade 10km of unpaved roads to asphalt roads and also build 17km concrete roads.
In 2018, the soldiers helped local residents build electric transmission poles, buy light bulbs and wires to bring electricity to nearly 600 ethnic minority households.
“The economic model run by the regiment has brought big benefits which cannot be counted in money, leaving a good impression on the ethnic minorities,” said Captain Nghiêm Đình Hiếu.
Over the past 20 years, Regiment 720 has reclaimed, cultivated and cared for more than 1,000ha of coffee, cashew, rubber and avocado, providing work for some 1,700 people with an average income VNĐ60 million per person a year.
In 2018, more than 3,000 people also received health check-ups from military doctors.
In March last year, the regiment opened a special classroom to care for young kids of farmers who work in the regiment’s rubber farm.
Bùi Mai Ngọc, a rubber tapper, said the class helped her family a lot by allowing her and her husband to focus on their work at the farm.
The class opens from midnight to 12pm to help rubber tappers start their work at 2am.
Some local residents not involved in the farming who have to leave home early also take their children or grandchildren to the special class, Captain Hiếu said. — VNS