New language brings new life to Co Tu Ethnic people

By KHÁNH LINH |

The popular English sentence patterns in conversation  has not yet been strange to many Co Tu ethnic residents of Bho Hoong village (Dong Giang district, Quang Nam province) since this ethnic minority commune being chosen to build a model of community-based tourism.

The Bho Hoong community - based tourist village welcomed visitors in the days of Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013. Photo: Thanh Cong.
The Bho Hoong community - based tourist village welcomed visitors in the days of Quang Nam Heritage Festival 2013. Photo: Thanh Cong.

The first teacher who made the change is Dinh Thi Thin, a 24 year old daughter-in-law of this Catu village. After gaining a college degree of Vietnamese Studies at Dong A college (Quang Nam province) in 2011, Thin came back her husband’s native land with a dream of doing tourism. In July 2013, when the Bho Hoong community-based tourism project began operating, Thin was voted as vice leader of  a community tourism group and chosen to participate a workshop on tourist English organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Office in Vietnam.

Based on the “Basic English for community-based tourism” course supplied by the Project Managing Board,  three times a week, many local resident went to Thin’s class to study English for communication. Up to now, most of people of Bho Hoong village can use English simple sentences in communication to welcome foreign tourists.

One of the Co Tu ethnic traditional dances.  Photo: Thanh Cong
One of the Co Tu ethnic traditional dances. Photo: Thanh Cong

“I am very happy because many elders wanted to go to study English. They were shy at tthe beginning, but now their English knowledge is better. However, they have not been confident when speaking English with foreign visitors yet,” said teacher Thin.

Besides teaching English, Thin has been also a tour-guide and introducer for tourist groups coming  to visit Bho Hoong village. This  work has not only made her English  knowledge better and better, but also brought her significant income. “ I received 150,000 VND a time for this work. After attracting 10% for my village, the remaining is enough for my family’s expenditure. Since the day of opening community-based tourism operation, there has been 1 to 2 tourist groups, from 7-20 tourists per group to visit Bho Hoong village, ” Thin said.

Many tourists enjoyed and  took part in the unique cultural activities  organised  by local people at the traditional Mool House. Photo: Thanh Cong
Many tourists enjoyed and took part in the unique cultural activities organised by local people at the traditional Mool House. Photo: Thanh Cong

 According to Mr Luong Van Long, a cadre of the ILO Project Office in Quang Nam province, the main aims of the  project “The Co Tu ethnic community-based tourism “is to supply jobs, raise the income, develop household economy toward the ways of concentration and environmental protection. Especially, the implementation of teaching, training tourist capacity through measures such as accommodation, doing business and starting trading firms… will make favourable conditions to local people and they will have a better life. “Mrs Thin is a typical person received  the success from the project”, Long said.

It’s only the first achievement, but the “Co Tu Community-based Tourism Project” model in Bho Hoong will bring significant changes to this ethnic village in future toward people’s life and awareness on traditional cultural preservation and sustainable development .

By KHÁNH LINH