Making news

Soc Trang pumps money into Khmer areas to eliminate poverty

The Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang will spend nearly 800 billion VND (33.8 million USD) for building infrastructure in areas predominantly inhabited by ethnic Khmer people in 2021-25.

Funded by the central and local budgets, the money will be used to resolve the shortage of housing lands, housing, farming lands, and clean water for 4,500 households.

It will also be used to build infrastructure for agriculture, invest in education, build boarding schools, and preserve the customs and culture of the Khmer.

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province has the largest number of Khmer people in the region and they make up 28% of its population.

Ly Rotha, head of the local Ethnic Minority Affairs Committee, said the investment would help bridge the gap in living standards and incomes between the ethnic group and the wider population.

In recent years the province has mobilised funds from various sources to develop livelihoods and jobs and invest in infrastructure in Khmer areas, significantly improving the ethnic people’s lives.

It has given cash and gifts worth 40 billion VND (1.7 million USD) to ethnic households during festivals and ceremonies this year, and provided soft loans worth 56 billion VND (2.4 million USD) for them to carry on agriculture or do business, according to the committee.

In Tran De district, where more than 50% of the population is Khmer, infrastructure and social welfare projects have received a lot of investment, helping many households escape poverty.

It has gifted minority families health insurance cards, seedlings and animals for breeding.

Lam Sen of Tran De district’s Lieu Tu commune said he received 50 million VNF (2,100 USD) from local authorities, which he augmented with 22 million VND (930 USD), to rebuild his dilapidated house.

“With the new house, my family feels secure.”

In Thanh Tri district, where the Khmer account for nearly 34% of the population, their lives have improved because of the effective implementation of support policies.

Nguyen Thi Pha Ly in the district’s Hung Loi town has been given a soft loan from the province’s fund for supporting farmers to buy buffaloes for breeding.

Local authorities also gave her a cow for breeding.

With two buffaloes and cows each, she has managed to escape poverty, she said.

Lieu Trinh Huy, head of the district Ethnic Minority Affairs Board, said the shortage of housing land and houses for ethnic people would be resolved by 2025.

The district also aims to train 50% of ethnic people of working ages in vocational skills and provide 98% of ethnic people with health insurance by 2025, he added.

Soc Trang hopes to reduce the rate of poverty among the Khmer by 3 – 4 percentage points a year.

It has 9,900 poor Khmer households, or 9.8% of the total Khmer number, according to the local Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs./.