One of two major projects run by Buffalo Educational Travel in Vietnam, we have been working in the beautiful Mai Chau valley for over a decade.
In the past two years we have been working particularly closely with the Bao La Commune on a number of construction projects to improve their agricultural and farming systems. Bao La Commune is a small commune of Mai Chau District, in Hoa Binh Province, around 160 km from Hanoi. This commune has 8 villages and approximately 2,400 people. We work mainly with 2 villages: the 62 families in Na Chao village and the 42 families in Long Sang village, all of whom are ethnic Thai people.
The main work in these villages is farming and raising livestock. Some families have small shops or create handicrafts at home for extra income. Many people survive on as little as $300 per year, while sustaining themselves from their farms.
In 2016 the Long Sang community determined, after lots of discussion, that a major priority should be better traffic connections in the village. Buffalo Educational Travel helped facilitate the building of a new bridge and road that would make it much easier for the people of Long Sang and surrounding villages to access the fields, transfer the farming products and develop the local economy.
Our close connection to the Bao La Commune has allowed us to think outside the box on a number of sustainability initiatives. One of these is the cow bank project. With the help of our own generous donors, we are able to provide the lowest income families with female calves that they are then able to sell for a considerable profit if they raise them well.
We have also strived to foster social development through cultural exchange activities and educational initiatives for kids. This is achieved through our connection with visiting schools as well as a permanent library set up to encourage reading and self-education in the local youth.
Homestay experiences are common throughout the Mai Chau Valley and visitors are always charmed by the intricacies of the local culture; the textiles and traditional performances. We are proud to offer guests a chance to experience a village stay in Na Chao village and experience a more remote and quiet location.