“Warm family” model in Tua Chua (Dien Bien province): supporting the poor, welcoming ex-prisoners back to community
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Since its inception over the past 15 years, the “warm family” model in Tua Chua district, the northern mountainous province of Dien Bien, has proven effective in popularising guidelines of the Party, and policies and laws of the State among family members. It has also assisted poor households in production and poverty reduction, and helped those who committed wrongdoings reintegrate into the community.
Lieutenant Colonel Giang A Khu from Tua Chua district’s police bureau took us to “red addresses” of people who had completed their jail terms and returned home.
“Those who were released from prison once were the major concern of local police as the forces found it hard to help the ex-offenders in re-entry,” Khu said. “Many of the former prisoners relapsed into bad deeds as they could not find a way to restart their lives, thus disturbing local security and safety.”
The “warm family” model then has been seen as a firm spiritual pillar for ex-prisoners to come back to normal life. And the heads of families play a crucial role in receiving and assisting the former inmates.
We visited Giang A Tung, a 35-year-old man in He hamlet, Xa Nhe commune, Tua Chua district, in his new house which was built with the traditional style of the Mong ethnic group.
At first, Tung was hesitant to talk, but he then openly shared the wrongdoings he committed in the past, and how he has returned to the normal life.
|The “warm family” model has been seen as a firm spiritual pillar for ex-prisoners to come back to normal life. And the heads of families play a crucial role in receiving and assisting the former inmates.|
Seven years ago, Tung was given jail sentence as he had love affairs with a teenager. After he was released in 2016, Tung came back to his home hamlet. The man said he felt ashamed and worried that villagers would laugh at him. So, he isolated himself from others, even his relatives.
“Seeing that I could not come out of my shell, head of the Giang family – Giang A Ky – and other family members and local authorities encouraged me, introduced me to other villagers and gave me guidelines in production. I was very touched at the warmth and acceptance of people around, and resolved to start a new life,” he said.
“I was hired by villagers to build houses and harvest crops. With my savings, and money I borrowed from family members, I bought goats and pigs to raise. As years passed, I have improved my self-esteem and returned to my normal life like many others in the village. I got married and have children, and built a new house. My family has recently escaped from poverty. I am very grateful to the Giang family and its head,” Tung said.
It was said that to help Tung re-enter into the community, Ky had worked hard in the communication work over the past time. As the Secretary of the Party cell, and a prestigious person who has made many achievements in popularising policies and guidelines, and promoting local economic development, Ky was entrusted by his relatives to become head of the Giang family. In that position, Ky persuaded other family members to accept Tung.
“Aware of my responsibility as the family’s head, I have taken care of Tung while organising family meetings and persuading family members to welcome him back with love and warmth, and create conditions for him to live and work in the hamlet. Our family now has 45 households in He hamlet. Thanks to the acceptance of the family members, Tung has returned his normal life, re-enter into the community and work to escape from poverty,” Ky said.
With family support in re-entry and production, some of the ex-offenders have not only moved out of poverty but also got rich right in their home land. That is the case of Mao Van Oi in Team 7, Muong Bang commune, Tua Chua district.
Ten years ago, Oi accidentally shot dead a person with a homemade gun and was sentenced to prison. Six years after he was released, with the support of the Mao family, Oi opened a carpentry workshop at home that has helped to improve his finance.
Mao Van Niem, head of the Mao family in Muong Bang, said: “When Oi just completed his jail term, he faced a lot of difficulties due to his big family. Learning about his situation, we raised a production fund for Oi. With nearly VND100 million, Oi opened a carpentry facility that produces wooden furniture as ordered by locals. He has received many orders for such products as wardrobes, tables, chairs and beds. His family, therefore, has gradually got out of poverty and become well-off.”
Tua Chua counts 137 families, of which 90 (mainly belonging to Thai and Mong ethnic groups) have rolled out the “warm family” model, notably Giang, Sung, Thao, Mua, Quang, Tong and Lo families. Under the model, many ex-prisoners have rapidly reintegrated into the community, like Mua A Pao (He hamlet, Xa Nhe commune); Ca Van Khoi (Phieng Quang hamlet, Xa Nhe commune); Sung Vang Pao (Pang De B village, Xa Nhe commune); and Quang Van Ngon (Ten hamlet, Muong Bang commune).
Ex-prisoners always feel guilty and ashamed, particularly with their relatives. They, therefore, isolate themselves from others. However, the “warm family” model in Tua Chua has changed their behaviors as those who are released from prison back into society have been accepted by their families and given opportunities to begin their new lives. /.
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