Lao Cai ethnic women benefit

by P.V21 October 2015 Last updated at 10:34 AM - Creating jobs to empower ethnic women was one of Vietnam’s Millennium Development Goals that it committed to implement back in 2000.

Empowerment is key to further promoting women's role in politics and society.

About 30 kilometres south of Sapa Town, Nam Keng Village experiences water shortages throughout the year. 116 households here can only grow one crop per year. After the harvest in October, men go to other regions for work but women often stay home and have no income. With no financial independence, women remain confined to traditional roles.

"The poverty rate is still high among ethnic groups. It is being gradually reduced, but these aren’t sustainable efforts", said Dao Van Khon, Chairman, Nam Sai Commune Fatherland Front Committee, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province.

During the last 2 years, the non-profit and fair trade organisation Craft Link have provided embroidery training for some 40 women at Xa Phó Embroidery Group in Nậm Kéng Village. Besides helping them to revive traditional embroidery techniques, Craft Link also provides vocational training on how to manage their business and market their products. Incomes here doubled or even tripled compared to before.

"Women here only farmed in the past and made little money. After Craft Link helped us with making brocade products, we can afford salt, and our children have new books to go to school", said Ly Thi Ngay, Xa Pho Ethnic, Nam Keng Village, Nam Sai Commune, Sapa District, Lao Cai Province.

"The most significant challenge when working with ethnic women is the language barrier. It's not easy to convey ideas or share embroidery skills with them as not many can speak Vietnamese. We have to use a translator in training classes", said Le Kim Anh, Designer, Craft Link Fair Trade Organisation.

Thanks to projects to create jobs and increase incomes, ethnic women from the Xa Phó ethnic group are gradually expanding their roles and positions in society. The rate of women participating in politics and society have also surged. More and more women in Nậm Kéng commune also have access higher education.

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