Joining the festive atmosphere of Khmer people in the south, the Khmer community in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang is enjoying their Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year) festival with happiness from improved living conditions, thanks to support policies from the Party and State.

Phu Tan commune in Chau Thanh district, where up to 80 percent of locals are Khmer people, used to be a poor locality with a deficient socio-economic situation and poor infrastructure.

However, thanks to joint efforts of the government and local residents, Phu Tan has changed positively. Currently, the proportion of poor families in the locality has been reduced to 17 percent from more than 40 percent in 2009.

According to Vo Minh Luan, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Phu Tan, almost all of the roads there have been covered in concrete, while nearly 97 percent of the locals have access to electricity.

Soc Trang is home to more than 400,000 Khmer people, accounting for 30.71 percent of the province’s population, according to the provincial Committee for Ethnic Affairs.

Khmer people are residents in 85 out of the total 109 communes, wards and towns in Soc Trang.

In 2013, the province received more than 85 billion VND from the government for socio-economic development as well as the new-style rural area building programmes, especially in Khmer-concentrated localities. As many as 11,403 households in Soc Trang escaped from poverty in the year.

This year, the government is continuing to pour another 100 billion VND towards helping the province conduct its programmes, promoting local production and incomes.

Effective poverty reduction models can be seen in Tran De and My Xuyen districts, where dairy cow breeding has become a popular way to overcome poverty. Large-scale rice fields have also proved effective in some localities such as Chau Thanh, Nga Nam and My Xuyen districts.

Chol Chnam Thmay is one of the most important festivals of the year for the Khmer people. It lasts three days (four days in leap years) and is usually held in pagodas.

This year, it is being held from April 14-16.-VNA