In the first days of October, the Cham ethnic people in the central province of Ninh Thuan eagerly prepare for their traditional Kate Festival with smiles on their lips, as luscious rice and corn fields promise bumper crops.

The local Cham community contains nearly 74,000 people, or 11.34 percent of the local population, living in 22 villages across seven districts. They follow two main religions, namely Brahmin and Islam.

The material and spiritual lives of the local Cham have improved thanks to the policies of the Party and State.

The Government has invested nearly 1 trillion VND (47.6 million USD) in building infrastructure facilities that serve the socio-economic and cultural development in the Cham-inhabited areas.

More than 85 percent of Cham households have gained access to clean water and all the families have benefited from the national power grid. All the roads have also been asphalted.

In addition, many households have accessed loans to develop businesses and production activities, thus raising their incomes.

The tangible and intangible cultural values of the Cham people have been preserved and promoted while education and health care for them have been improved.

So far, the Cham people have received over 25 billion VND (1.2 million USD) to restore their traditional craft villages in line with cultural and tourism development.

According to Permanent Vice Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Duc Dung, the improvements in the life of the Cham ethnic people reflect the sound polices of the Party and State.

By late 2012, the number of poor Cham households decreased to 1,623, accounting for 11.16 percent of Cham families and 8.32 percent of the province’s total poor.

In the time to come, local authorities will continue implementing policies to help them develop production and stabilise their lives together with sustainable poverty reduction programmes, thus strengthening the nation’s unity, he said.

As one of the biggest festivals in the locality, the annual Kate Festival offers an occasion for the Cham people to pay their respect to national heroes.

This year’s event will take place on October 4-6.-VNA