A sense of spring has come to the disadvantaged ethnic minorities in the border district of Sop Cop in northwestern Son La province after over 300 new brick houses were offered to them on the occasion of Lunar New Year.
|MPI Minister Nguyen Chi Dung at the ceremony for the new homes |
The new homes were donated by the leaders and employees of the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Vietinbank, and the 326th Defence Economics Division (DED) under Military Region 2 of the Ministry of Defence.
During the first days of 2021, hundreds of people from Sop Cop’s mountainous hamlets eagerly gathered at the DED’s conference hall to receive the keys for their new homes.
This was the second time the MPI, Vietinbank, and the DED had organised such a handover ceremony. A total of 447 new brick houses were built in the second half of 2020, showcasing the kind hearts of MPI leaders and staff as well as other sponsors.
Among the new houses, 240 were built thanks to donations from leaders and employees of the MPI, with the remainder donated by Vietinbank and the DED.
Last September, the MPI’s representatives already granted 106 new houses for the ethnic minorities in Sop Cop district, thus offering a chance for them to stabilise their lives and at least partially eradicate poverty.
The building and donation of the new homes were initiated by MPI minister Nguyen Chi Dung. During his trip last September to hand over the first batch of keys, he heard that there were nearly 400 more households in dire need to upgrade their cottages. Immediately after the trip, he called upon all his staff and sponsors to help the poor in this remote area, and his call received good responses from both MPI staff and partners.
“We were determined to build the houses as quickly as possible to grant people a new home for Lunar New Year,” said the MPI minister.
Following this motivation, over 340 firm houses with brick walls were built in just three months, and were ready to be handed over to beneficiaries at the end of January.
“This is the happiest Lunar New Year for households who received the new houses and a great encouragement for our leaders and the people in the province,” said Bui Thanh Thuy, Secretary of Sop Cop’s Party Committee.
Sop Cop is an extremely poor border district of Son La province in the mountainous northwestern region. It takes 4-5 hours by car along zigzag routes to get to the township from Moc Chau.
Covering an area of 1,468 square kilometres, the district contains Sop Cop township and eight remote communes bordering Laos.
Sop Cop’s people are mainly ethnic minorities with low literacy levels. They earn their living from outdated cultivation, so most of them live in poverty with thatched cottages and weak infrastructure. More than 40 per cent of households in Sop Cop are at the poorest level, and there are still nearly 500 households living in thatched cottages.
As such, the entire region embraced the festive fever when the new houses were handed over. Never before had so many people in the mountainous area of Sop Cop received so many new houses all at the same time.
According to Thuy, the people’s harsh situation causes headaches for local authorities in their endeavour to lift up their standards. “Sop Cop is an extremely poor district with a small economy, tiny state budget, and limited social mobilisation resources, so we have been trying our utmost to eradicate the thatched cottages, but only managed around 15-20 households per year. Each can cost around VND350-400 million ($15,000-17,500),” shared Thuy.
|The lucky beneficiaries of the 341 new houses received their keys to start improving their lives |
By Ha Nguyen