Tuyen Quang Province and the Empowered Women / トゥエンクアン省と強く生きる女性たち-五嶋みどり

Tuyen Quang Province and the Empowered Women

Blog Entry By Midori

We are now back in Hanoi. Here is what’s been happening for the ICEP Quartet since the beginning of the activities on the 18th, which was last Tuesday.


After having rehearsed for a few days at the Vietnam National Academy, we had our first presentation at Phuc Tue Disabled Centre. Very quickly after it, however, we had to leave the bustling urban setting of Hanoi and head to Tuyen Quang Province—a few hours ride in the car from Hanoi once we got out of the traffic jam. We spent the last day-and-a-half, visiting some of the remote communes where IFAD has the Agriculture, Farmers and Rural Areas Support Projects. It was amazing experience to be able to see the projects and talk to those who are the beneficiaries!


IFAD is a UN agency based in Rome and has worked in Asia and the Pacific regions to fight poverty and hunger. In particular, the projects we were able to visit are participating in the Credit-Savings program. Because IFAD focuses on marginalized people such as ethnic minorities people and women, I was able to meet and talk to many women and children from these ethnic minorities communes and hear their experiences directly. The goal of these projects was to increase household incomes and improving household food security and nutrition. Small, low-interest loans are made especially to women, and with it, they can also receive better training to increase on-farm and off-farm activities. The women told the stories of how apprehensive they were at the beginning, because what they get is a loan, not a gift exactly, and they must somehow repay the loan, with (small) interest. With this loaned money, they bought better seeds, fertilizers, and livestock, etc., and were also able to receive better training by specialists sent by IFAD who worked with them to focus on higher quality and production of the goods. They learned of new methods, which, beyond bettering quality, decreased labor. They also learned about Credits and Savings, paving a path for sustainable economic planning and investing for their futures, their families and especially their children, as well as for the entire community.


The positive effects I could feel aren’t just about the excitement of these women. They are grateful, but they radiated with confidence and pride, knowing that their work and resulted financial gain enabled the village to have better (paved) roads, better educational opportunities for their children, better homes for their families. Some spoke about how her status within her family and relationship to her husband changed, because they were in the driving seat of the small enterprise. A particularly memorable story I heard was from a woman who was in the pig-raising project, who has two children. The economic gain enabled her two children to attend university, and her daughter has just gained entrance to medical school. The women have been empowered, and this is powerful, with so much potential to further grow and to improve. Finally, the girls who have witnessed the change in their mothers, sisters, aunts have also been affected. Now with a sense of purpose in their lives, they face life with commitment and aspiration to achieve.


It was a special treat indeed to visit these project sites, and then also to engage in musical exchange along the way. The ICEP Quartet got to play for the villagers, and the villagers then also put on a couple of performances for us. It was such a wonderful occasion to see everyone smiling so much—grinning actually, and the feeling of warmth generated all over.

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ベトナム国立音楽院で数日間のリハーサルを終えてから、最初のプログラムをハノイの「Phuc Tue障がい者支援施設」で行い、その後すぐに、ハノイの賑やかな都会の街並みを離れて、トゥエンクアン省へ向かいました。いったん渋滞から抜け出してしまえば、ハノイからは車で2~3時間のところにあります。ここ1日半は、IFADの農村開発プロジェクト対象地域である人里離れた共同体をいくつか訪問しました。IFADのプロジェクトを実際に見て、そのプロジェクトの恩恵を受けている人々と話ができ、大変勉強になりました。