In Vietnam’s Northern Upland is the province of Hoa Binh, whose beautiful natural landscape made up of mountains and forests, grottoes and caves, and crystal clear lakes and hot springs for bathing. Hoa Binh is rich in history and culture and is considered to be the cradle of Vietnamese ancient culture. The diversity of Hoa Binh culture combines several ethnic groups with their own languages and traditional literature, like Muong, Thai, Mong, Tay and Dao, which is expressed in the architecture, beliefs, customs and traditional festivals.
The ethnic minority groups within Vietnam’s society have not shared equally from the benefits of the country’s growth. Poverty, life expectancy, nutritional status and standards of living remain stubbornly low among these peoples. Geography plays a major part in the cultural practices of many ethnic minorities, but also negatively impacts access to infrastructure and services like health care and education. The 72 per cent of ethnic minorities lack access to latrines, and more than a quarter of ethnic minority households do not have access to safe water.
Many families in Hoa Binh live in homes built using temporary construction materials such as soil floors and silt houses, which are unsafe, unstable and not disaster-resilient. The high mountain typography means these families particularly suffer in the winter months, when extreme weather damages the floors and blow off roofs. In the face of climate change, natural disaster and pandemic, the security, safety and health of the most vulnerable households have become more and more threatened, especially within communities in the Quyet Thang commune of Lac Sonn one of the poorest districts in Hao Binh.
Through the Global Village program, Habitat volunteers will work alongside the vulnerable families to improve their living conditions and overall wellbeing by building safe, disaster-resilient homes of concrete blocks. In just a week, the team of volunteers will make a tangible difference to the lives and futures of the low-income communities.