H'Mong kids' view of life

Thanh Nien News

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Fifteen students of the Man Than Ethnic Boarding School in Si Ma Cai District, Lao Cai Province learned to use a digital camera for the first time as they joined the Photo Voice project.

The project was carried out by Oxfam and Vietnam’s Institute for Studies of Society, Economics and Environment in Lao Cai, Dak Nong and Gia Lai, three provinces in northern and central Vietnam with large population of ethnic minorities.

An exhibition of photos taken by the students in this project will be held in Hanoi on the Children’s Day June 1, 2014.

Students get water from a concrete tank to clean the school toilets. The lack of clean water is a big problem in the mountainous area of Si Ma Cai.


Students sweep the path to their school.


Two students carry their belongings on the way home on weekend.


Three boys hunt for fish.


A little girl plays with water. Her brother goes to school and parents have to work all days, so the 4-year-old girl has to play alone.


Little cooks make sweet potato cakes in a school cooking contest.


Playing see-saw.


Boarding students also spend time helping families in the school’s neighbourhood on the farm.


A 7-year-old brother gets water from a public water tank for his 5-year-old brother and 2-year-old sister wash their hands and feet.


Two men carry a 80-kilo pig they have just killed to prepare dishes for a wedding. Pao, the student photographer, notes that “There are usually 8 dishes for a wedding in our community. We have pork, tofu, and vegetable stir-fried with pig innards. They are probably not the best food for people who live in the city, but for us they are too delicious.”


Pao’s father is feeding the family’s buffalo. The buffalo is the family’s priceless asset, so everyone must take care of it.


Hong’s photo shows her mother and grandmother stripping corn. They will sell most of the corn at the market, but will also keep some at home for food.


Chu’s mother, Cu Thi Cha, 51, cooks for the family. Meals usually have just rice mixed with corn and vegetable. 
For every day’s meals, local family usually have to eat rice mixed with corn. Only on special occasions, such as weddings, can they eat just rice.
Adults and children watch the Chinese movie “Monkey King” played on an old TV. According to the photographer, “everyone is happy watching. I wish the movie would never end, so that everybody have fun watching it.”
Mao’s photo shows her mom making a dress on her sewing machine.
May takes a photo of three sisters herding buffalos.

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