Go eco to Khe Ro

Where: Khe Ro Forest , Vietnam

Who: Gruppo volontario Trentino

A Community based project where women are perfect landladies of homestay

The first travellers here ave been eleven Hanoi students, and who wants to experience the same emotions must be an explorer more than a tourist. Or we should better say that here tourists learn with locals. The reason is that, in the Khe Ro Forest of the Bac Giang Province, north east of Hanoi, an eco tourism project is moving its first steps after years of work with the local Cmmunity and People's Committee of Son Dong district Authorities: now all together they are choosing the first homestay, visitors go bathing in the ponds and trekking in the forest with newly patented guides, they follow the farmers work, from hundred families in four viillages. With great satisfaction: local people are very keen on showing traditions and keeping alive the Community, farmers and workers of the fruit factory have been singing and dancing and trekking during the visit. Now that http://anlaceng.wecan-group.com/, the first An Lac website, is online, it's impossible not to wish to go visit.

The An Lac Community has 5 different homestays available for tourists. The families offer 2 -3 beds, bathroom facilities and local food. All homestays householders were trained in tour guiding, cultural exchange and cooking. There’s a group of three tour-guides. They are rangers and farmers living in the commune with good knowledge about the commune, the roads and the forest, so they are very familiar with the trekking routes. As anlaceng.wecan-group.com says: <

GTV, an Italian NGO and CSDS, a local NGO from Hanoi have worked in partnership in order to support the long-term protection of the Khe Ro forest through sustainable, community-based tourism, which opens up new opportunities for the local ethnic minorities to earn a living and share the natural beauty, as well as maintaining and preserving their individual and special cultural heritage. We offer a variety of different tours and trekkings opportunities, as well as staying in a typical local homestay, with a chance to eat and sample the distinctive local foods and of course visit one of the most beautiful forests in the whole of Vietnam.

You will get an unique impression and insight of life in the rural areas, outside the big city of Hanoi that can transport one back through the mists of time to something unchanged by the centuries>>. And women have been among the most active: those who were already making incense and candles, got organised in cooperatives, a Professional and Handcrafts Training Centre has been opened, and for the first time they will sell their handcrafts to tourists.

As Vi explains in the video on the GVT website. The Voluntary Group of Trento is an association supporting development projects in Vietnam and in the south-eastern part of Asia. Objectives are improving life conditions of local population and contributing to social and economic development. Therefore, the principal overall aim is implementing civil, cultural and social solidarity. GTV receives funding support by the European Union, public and private entities (such as the Province of Trento and the Region of Trentino-Alto Adige). Moreover, it is supported through donations from its members, collaborators, and active citizens. In Vietnam GTV implemented projects mostly in the northern provinces (Bac Ninh, Bac Giang, Cao Bang), operating where incomes are low, poverty is wide-spread and a lack of infrastructures limits development possibilities. A particular attention is paid to ethnic minorities, disadvantaged people, and especially to women and children. Even though they play a significative role for both society and economy, they are the most vulnerable part of population. The sectors of GTV intervention are rural development, health care (training courses for medical staff, delivery of medical equipments, renewal of infrastructure) and education (professional training courses). All projects are carried out following participative methods, involving the direct beneficiary in each parts of the project, from the very first planning to the implementation and the evaluation. GTV strongly believes that only by working side by side with beneficiaries, communicating with them to understand their needs and points of view, it is possible to change the current situation and encourage the self-development of people.

Overall objective is to contribute to alleviate poverty in An Lac commune. Specific objective: To promote a eco-responsible tourism network through the creation of a number of integrated activities aiming at improving sanitary conditions and at creating income-generating activities. A tourism sector has been established in An Lac commune comprising: Gruppo Trentino di Volontariato – G.T.V. No. 18 – Alley 31/46, Xuan Dieu, Tay Ho, Hanoi Tel./Fax 0084.4.7191461 info.vietnam@gtvonline.org www.gtvonline.org

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