The most disadvantaged minority groups in Vietnam living in northern Midlands and mountainous areas, central highlands, are still struggling and face every day a problem in nutrition, health, education in comparison of the majority groups.

There are not too many historical records about the origin of these ethnic minorities but it is said that Vietnam has 54 ethnic groups with language belonging to the five language families of Southeast Asia.



Some groups have been in Vietnam since the earliest times like the Viet, the Tay-Thai groups, while some arrived recently around the 17th to 19th centuries like the Hanhi, the Lahu, the Lolo groups, and some others came throughout different periods, but mostly in the last millennium. Today, the largest group is composed of the Kinh or Viet (ethnic Vietnamese), the next biggest groups include the Tay, the Muong, the Thai, the Kmer ( ethnic Cambodian), the Hoa (ethnic Chinese ) and Hmongs.



Despite that poverty rates in Vietnam has been steadily decreasing over time, despite government assistance efforts and much progress in living standards, health, and education in recent years, the poverty rate does not drop very much for the ethnic minority groups compared to the ethnic majority group…

Today, in 2017  hundreds of children of these minorities have to work to pay for food and education when they can get it. A lot of them work at night at the Mau Due antimony mine in Ha Giang Province, which produces a crucial resource for the production of batteries, cast alloys or cable coatings. For the ones who don’t know, Antimony is a polymorphic, toxic and carcinogenic metalloid, as is Arsenic.

These children use their hammers to break open the leftover stones in the hope of recovering bits and pieces of valuable antimony. In the best day, they can retrieve 2-3 kg and few hundred grams on bad days, and they sell it on the place to traders from VND 15,000 (US$0.66) to VND 30,000 ($1.32) per kilogram. In the meantimes, others kids, sell craft along the streets or in the markets, others work in lands, while others ones just beg…



Malnutrition rates, infant mortality rates, diseases and low life expectancy show today that the weakest minorities like the Mang, the LaHu, theCong, theCo Lao, thePuPeo, ODu, etc. are on term, threatened of extinction…









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