BET Vietnam Projects: Vinh Long

One of two major projects run by our dedicated Buffalo Educational Travel in Vietnam, Vinh Long lies deep in the Mekong River Delta.

Vinh Long city is a province 3 hours from Vietnam’s Southern Capital, Ho Chi Minh City and home to around 190,000 people. This dynamic town is in the bustling trading center of agriculture and aquaculture. Rich soil and abundant waterways allow tropical fruits, shrimps and fisheries to thrive alongside the high rice production. However, Vinh Long is still struggling to provide sufficient welfare and support for the disadvantaged, with the majority of people living on less than $5 a day.

In 2014 Buffalo Educational Travel founded the Vinh Long Community Development Association alongside Vinh Long Red Cross, Vinh Long Welfare Association, Vinh Long District Authority, Vinh Long Education Authority and Cuu Long Tourist Corporation. Our joint aim, alongside the community, is to promote the welfare and education of disadvantaged families in Vinh Long.

In our community meeting for needs analysis in 2014, the poor housing and sanitation conditions of twenty-two families were identified as the most pressing issues facing the community. Since then we have completed 6 of these homes with the help of visiting school groups. These homes have allowed 6 deserving families to focus on their futures – their children’s education and their work – rather than be stuck in a cycle of poverty worsened by harsh living conditions.

Our community health care project has also been incredibly successful in the Mekong with our strong connection to the Vinh Long General Hospital. In particular, a Midwifery placement program has seen local women, and men, learn crucial information about healthy pregnancy, delivery and childcare. Through our connection with Vinh Long Red Cross we also offer around 70 local students healthcare insurance.

Vinh Long’s rivers and waterways are a mesmerising place to explore and all who visit leave with fond memories of floating markets, endless rice paddies and delicious local cuisine.

BET Vietnam Projects: Mai Chau

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.

na chao village stay

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.