Sapa Reddzao

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Lao Cai, Vietnam
Minimum Stay:
3 days to 3 months


Community development program in Sapa the north west of Vietnam

"Live & work with hill tribe group - Red Dzao in Sapa"

This is the Deal

Ta Phin is a cultural tourism village, attracting tourist by beautiful natural scenery at the foot of Fansipan mountain (Fansipan known as the roof of Indochina), along with the unique traditional cultural values ??of the Red Dzao people here.

There are a lot of tourists from all over the world visiting Taphin every day and many of them stayed to experience daily life with the villagers through homestay models that managed by Mrs. Ly May Chan. With her interesting tours around the colorful village and at the same time listening to her talk about the customs and daily life of the people here, visitors always get the unforgettable experience of their discovery journey.

Mrs. Ly May Chan also has pondered a lot about vulnerable group in her village and the effects of tourism bring to.
Since 2012 December, with the help of the capacity building for local NGOs of Volunteers for the Community Development & Environmental Education Organisation. Mrs. Ly May Chan has conducted programs for Community Development called Sapa Red Dzao
It is really a meaningful programs to support the community. It includes some useful components like Vocational Training, Responsibility Travel to create job opportunities and life-changing the illiterate poor children, the girls who are the victims of child marriage in the village and the street vendors…
Classes are now in operation and hope for the help from the international volunteer tourists. They teach the programs in English, computer skillsand living values education program for 30 participants of the above objects.

The community development program "Sapa Red Dzao" is looking forward to receiving the attention of the international volunteers who want to make a different in their journey.


Idians from the mountains of rice

The clash between traditional knowledge and modern customs of ethnic minorities afflicts one of the few remaining Communist countries in the world - Vietnam.
Text by Renan Rosa Aline Stürmer Photos

The Red Dzao and the Hmong tribal, who came from China to Vietnam in the centuries 13 and 18, kept alive the colorful handicrafts, cuisine and traditions.

Former French colonialists attributed to them in the 19th century, the name Montagnards, or mountain people, identified by natural language, the traditional costumes and the traditional rites. Although there is no official segregation between ethnic groups in Vietnam, the people who inhabit the highlands of northern remain in the worst economic and social conditions of the country. For most kinh that hegemonic power in the communist government, they are associated with stereotypes as "backward" and "savages." Officially not use the term "indigenous", but in practice, tay, the Hmong, the Dao, the Muong Hoa and the Indians are in Southeast Asia.

After the end of the turbulent war against the Americans in the 70's, Vietnam has experienced a cultural and territorial disintegration and hard economic deficits. Today, two decades after the implementation of Doi Moi, the economic restructuring program aligned with the evolution of China, the country has achieved the second highest economic growth in Asia, with a model of market socialism that proposes to reduce inequalities among its 54 groups ethnic. The 53 ethnic minorities account for 14% of the approximately 90 million inhabitants and organized into semi-nomadic tribal communities, many established in the northern mountains. At the origin of these people came from China and have spread not only in Vietnam but also in the mountains of Laos, Thailand and Myanmar, where he won relative autonomy.
Rice cultivation creates green terraces in the mountains. The baskets carry bamboo leaves used to heat dwellings
In Lao Cai train station in northwestern Vietnam, tourists disembark every day, historians, photographers and onlookers anxious to see the villages inhabited by minorities such as the Hmong and Dao blacks, these subdivided into Hmong flower tao yao and Giay, the main "tribes" of the region. Foreign and Vietnamese kinh depart in vans and minibuses for an adventurous journey by road winding up to Sapa, the main tourist gateway in the region. Near the border with China, the city was built during the French colonial hill station as an alternative to the sweltering summers of the capital, Hanoi.

Not surprisingly, practitioners mountaineering flock to camps for those who wish to climb the 3143 meters Mount Fansipan, the "Everest of Vietnam." The landscape of Sapa offers a singular vision, almost surreal, lots of fluorescent green rice terraces, aligned between mountains that refer to scenarios Incas.

On this background Hmong women yao arise through the city streets, identified by traditional multicolored scarves, burned complexion, the large ear rings and metal earrings and gold teeth, which confer a certain gypsy décor, chasing customers to sell handicrafts. The resounding mantra is: "You buy from me, do not buy from her" ("Buy me, do not buy it"). Tourism brought better conditions for minorities, led to the construction of roads, schools and housing some infrastructure, but also misrepresented the traditions. The simple gesture of genuine hospitality are gradually being replaced by trade aggressively, sometimes on the verge of begging.

Originally from Siberia, Tibet and Mongolia, the Hmong people lived in China until the 18th century, when conflicts with the Ming and Qing dynasties caused migrations to Vietnam. Currently the country has the second largest population of this group in the world. In Bac Ha Sunday market, the largest and oldest fair in the region, the Hmong flower, with their colorful robes of embroidered luminescent, expose their traditional crafts.

Young women participating in trade and agriculture and the cattle drive with the children packed in bundles on their backs. The more experienced elders in crafts also engage in cutting and sale of sugarcane, while men negotiate buffalo and wild pigs, and dogs, living or in pieces - for human consumption. At lunch break, the traditional Pho, rice noodle soup with pork, wine is accompanied by rice or corn, similar to Japanese sake, which warms the way back to the communities. Often, women carry baskets full of bamboo leaves, essential to heat dwellings.

Tourism has brought improvements to the mountain people, but also became merchants and peasants in aggressive beggars.

Among the visitors crowded market, Hmong women Giay, the more rustic the Hmong people, with its rounded top hats, wrap hemp fibers for weaving, which gradually replaced by cotton and synthetic fiber. The confection of pleated skirts the base of Cannabis sativa is preserved in only 20% of households Hmong. Global aid organizations such as Link Craft reinforce initiatives appreciation of the traditions in the export market, in the villages of Ta Van and Cat Cat Beside ethnologists and designers, women participate in the creation of products using local raw materials, providing a new economic perspective.

The women of the tribe dao, grouped in workshops crammed with sewing machines are easily distinguishable by the ornaments on the head - turbans and scarves tangles, a bright red headdresses that look fabric - and tunics embroidered with coins and trinkets. The people dao, which started before the Hmong migration from the 13th century, worships a rich literature in languages ??and han dao, and costumes that mix magic with Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism.

The dao are dedicated to the cultivation of rice, cotton and the weaving trade in jewelery. Ly May Chan, a community leader from the village of Ta Phin, near Sapa, works with the education of children. "The formation of cooperatives for the distribution of local crafts in houses of culture is critical for the survival of our people," he explains. "This can be output to keep our roots alive."

Tourists are enchanted with the rituals of courtship of relaxed young dao in "Fever Saturday Night" from the "Love Market" of Sapa, where young tribal chant versions of songs à la Joan Baez to attract members of the opposite sex. These, it seems, prefer to splash about in the drink or the consumption of opium, which could only legally be used for ceremonial purposes.

With a comb stuck between long locks, Giang Thi Hoam of 16 years, his routine alternates between school and work to guide tourists wishing to explore the magic of nature and culture of the mountain, practically dissolved in town. Since 1993, the urban area was taken by the Sapa tourist boom, with an increase of runaway hotels and pensions administered by kinh owners that occupy the best land in the highlands and the best panoramic views, pushing the edges intimate and rustic life the natives.

Smiling, the young Hmong tao explains the difficulties to achieve better living conditions: "We learn by practicing English with tourists, which opens new opportunities for the future. Our people can survive with little. Sometimes it takes a whole day to make a few bucks . To my parents, good life means having a paddy field itself, some pigs and a stilt house. But people of my generation like to get into university, and have cellular motorcycle.

The beauty of the scenery and waterfalls cut by the Muong Hoa River is usually engulfed by thick fog that invades the region during half of the year, the incessant coming and going of pasta cold and clammy. The best time to visit Sapa is between spring and autumn, between April and October. During the winter the mercury fall to freezing temperatures. The climate influences agricultural production and health conditions of the population, leading to seasonal food shortages, malnutrition and respiratory diseases.

Despite the progress brought by tourism and economic development, such as the modernization of urban and rural infrastructure, improvements in agricultural production and access to new technologies, suffers from Sapa basic social needs, related to the disparity of conditions in comparison with most kinh . Most homes built with wood and bamboo has one or two rooms, a boiler dug in the ground to cook and handmade carpets, ignoring sanitation, electricity and other modern comforts. Most men and women Hmong and Dao lacks basic health care.

The association of mountaineers to superstition and mysticism, by the population kinh and some government agencies, undermines the achievement of social and discourages participation in public life. It is difficult for the modern mind to understand, free of stereotypes, the multiplicity of symbols ancestors of Asian my website, one of the last communist countries in the world, also lives the clash of modernity with the cultures that call for preserving, where most wealth derives from the diversity and spontaneity of cultural roots.

New generations gladly would trade the old ways for mobile, motorcycle and university. Beside, the town of Sapa.

What Else

Our program welcomes volunteers involvement in a variety of areas and capacities. Volunteers may provide short term as one day or long term commitment to such things as:

Provide conversational English lessons to local youth broaden children’s knowledge and help improve education and studying conditions for the village children.
Assist villagers to improve their language and communication skills and to develop more effective techniques to approach and sell their products to tourists.
Assist with setting up and improving local home stay projects. Provide advice on food safety, cleanliness and other factors that may make the home stays more appealing to tourists.
Help people harvest crops and perform other everyday tasks unique to village life.
Volunteers derive a great sense of fulfillment and satisfaction from their work and our school life is certainly very much enhanced by their generous efforts.

Qualifications requirements
Basic English language is required and the ability to follow a set cirriculum. Patience and a willingness to learn as well as to teach.
Skills requirements
Basic English language and the ability to teach.
Physical fitness requirements
Minimum age 18
Accommodation: Accommodation can be provided in one of the homestays of Taphin village (Homestay program is help from the Community Based Tourism Project - CBT of The PATA Foundation and Capilano University )

+ Smokers allowed

+ Internet Access

+ Have animals/pets