Making news

Pa Ko man sows seeds of art among mountainous children

While many in his community struggle to just makes ends meet, a Pa Ko ethnicity man in Quang Tri province’s mountainous area is pouring his heart and soul into encouraging local children to love art, through the medium of film.

Ho Tu Pong Ngoi comes from A Mo Ro village in Huong Hoa district where the major population is Pa Ko ethnic minority people.

Born in one of the poorest area in Quang Tri, Ngoi was lucky enough to finish higher education at Quang Tri College of Pedagogy.

“Although I did not become a teacher after graduation, during my college days, I gradually learned what I love to do in life,” he said.

A laptop he bought using his savings opened new horizons for Ngoi, with his first project to create a Pa Ko ethnic dialect voiceover for an animation.

“The simple project was warmly welcomed by children and villagers. They encouraged me to make more voiceovers for other cartoons,” he recalled.

Ngoi’s initiative caught the eye of coordinator of a health project between the Netherlands and Vietnam and he was recruited as a volunteer to take pictures of children and life in mountainous areas. The project also offered him training courses on movie-making.

His films authentically portray the daily lives and festivals of Pa Ko people from the perspective of an insider.

As well as winning villagers’ hearts, Ngoi’s photographs were purchased by the project as promotion materials. These experiences made him a popular photographer in the area.

“However, the job is simply a means to earn money to nurture bigger dreams,” he said. “I am passionate in film-making about Pa Ko people, forests and mountains where I grew up.”

Even though he doesn’t earn lots of money, serving the community, especially children, is still Ngoi’s priority.

“I used to be a shy kid, just like other children living in the isolated area where the concept of life skills and social skills remains unknowns,” he said.

His life changed when he went to study in the city and learnt to record videos and dance.

“Movies are my passion but thanks to hip-hop dancing, I started exploring myself,” he added.

Understanding the disadvantages village children are coping with, in March 2015, Ngoi and some friends established a dance crew called Akay Vel (Village’s children in Pa Ko language).

This is an open group aiming to help improve children’s confidence and release their energy, so anyone can join to practise and perform.

He also opened a public library at his home, making it a place where village children come to read, play and learn to dance for free.

“My only concern is my limited budget can only afford a hundred books, so the children have read them all,” he said.

Every afternoon, he waits for children to come to read them stories to encourage them to chase their dreams and believe in themselves, despite their disadvantaged living condition.-VNS/VNP