The Mekong Delta province of Kiên Giang is undertaking maximum efforts to preserve and develop the unique cultures of its ethnic minorities, who make up 14.5 percent of the local population.
The Ok-Om-Bok festival, which is held annually in Gò Quao district, has been upgraded into a culture-tourism-sports festival featuring a variety of activities, such as art performances, trade fairs and photo exhibitions, showcasing the social-economic achievements, culture and cuisine of the Khmer group.
Campaigns to eradicate illiteracy and offer bilingual education were launched in such districts with large communities of ethnic minorities, as Châu Thanh, Gò Quao and Giồng Riêng, said Danh Nhỏ, Head of the Ethnic Affairs Board under the Provincial People’s Council.
More than 30 schools across the locality teach in ethnic minority languages in addition to Vietnamese while hundreds of classes teaching Khmer are run at pagodas over the summer holidays.
The local budget was earmarked for assisting the upgrade of Khmer and Hoa (ethnic Chinese) pagodas. In particular, more than 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) was spent on the construction of crematoriums, the purchase of five-tonne musical instruments, and the building of iconic, long, narrow boats for “Ngo” boat race, a distinctive traditional festival of the Khmer people.
In addition to increasing air time for broadcasts in Khmer, the province now publishes magazines and newspapers in the language of its ethnic minority readers.
The locality is also dedicating resources to the protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritages in line with social-economic and tourism development, with a particular focus on preserving languages, costumes, religions and festivals.