La clan has a penchant for learning

(VOVWORLD) - The La clan in Chieng Bang commune, Son La province, has a deep-seated tradition of learning. The clan of Thai ethnic minority group has more than 30 university graduates and 20 others attending universities. Every year more than 80% of families in the La clan are recognized for their predilection for learning. They are role models for other families and clans to follow and expand the movement across Son La.
La clan has a penchant for learning - ảnh 1

A sightseeing tour on the Son La hydroelectric reservoir


In a stilt house next to Chieng Bang Primary School, La Van Khan, chief of the La clan, recalled he was born into a family of five siblings. None of them attended school. He had been illiterate until he was 11 years old, when he began following some village children to school. Having no learning kits and not enough food, he patiently pursued study and graduated from the teacher training college. Now he has come back to the home village to teach the local children.

Mr. Khan said: “I’m the only one who completed the whole course and graduated from the school. The six others quit because of much deprivation, especially ill-nourishment.”

In the past, all women at Bo Ban hamlet were illiterate because of a common though  that girls only needed to know how to do farming, then get married and have a family. But Mr. Khan wanted all his descendants to attend school.

The number of female students in the La clan has been increasing; many of them are officials at the hamlet or commune level.

Ms. La Thi Hay is one of them. She said: “I’m educationally disadvantaged. When I worked for a cooperative, I was displeased with the cooperative’s time keeping but couldn’t do anything. So I encouraged my nieces to go to school and become literate. Only education can help assuage the difficulties they encounter in daily life.”

La Van Phong of the "9x" generation is considered a role model for their passion for learning . In 2014, after graduating from Northwestern University majoring in  business administration , Phong started his own business in his native land. He and his friends set up the Quynh Nhai Ecotourism brigade by the end of 2015. Early last year, the brigade registered to be transformed into the Quynh Nhai Fishery and Ecotourism Cooperative.

La Van Phong said: “I want to follow the family tradition because my grandparents and other members are well-educated. I’ll try my best to develop my cooperative and make Quynh Nhai’s tourism widely known.”

The improved education of the La clan members has helped them to have a better life. To date, only one of more than 100 households in the clan is recognized as poor, a minority who is this year expected to rise above the poverty line.

Many households in the clan have developed more than 400 fishing traps  by utilizing the advantages of the Son La Hydropower Plant, helping them earn an income of up to almost 13,000 USD a year , and enabling them to afford their children’s education.