The People’s Committee of the southern province of Kien Giang will provide over 1.56 billion VND (73,320 USD) for poverty-stricken families and those living near the poverty line to celebrate the Khmer ethnic people’s Chol Chnam Thmay (New Year festival).

The festival—one of the most important events of the year for the Khmer ethnics to pray for health, happiness and prosperity—will be celebrated on April 14-16 this year, with a wide range of traditional cultural, art and sport activities.

Troupes of Khmer artists have designed a number of art performances to entertain locals in far-flung areas.

Local authorities will visit and present gift packages to Khmer people during the festival.

Kien Giang is home to nearly 51,000 Khmer ethnic households with 216,860 people making up 12.4 percent of the local total population.

Over the years, the province has effectively implemented a number of projects and policies to improve local living standards and reduce the rate of poor Khmer ethnic households – currently standing at 7.4 percent.

The locality has opened vocational training courses, generated jobs and transferred farming techniques to farmers.

Focus has also been on building schools and roads as well as ensuring electricity and clean water for inhabitants in ethnic minority regions.

Some 4,150 students are pursuing Khmer writing classes at 29 schools.

In 2014, the province earmarked over 15 billion VND (700,000 USD) for nine communes and 11 hamlets to build infrastructure and develop production. This year, it will provide an additional 700,000 USD to carry out the programme.-VNA