Of the total Vietnamese population of 94.5 million (2016), 9.2 million live below the poverty line and many others remain very near it. Poverty reduction is slowing down, and inequality between the rich and the poor is increasing. There are persistent deep pockets of poverty, particularly amongst the ethnic minorities who make up 14% of the population, yet account for 72% of the country's poor.
Around Ba Be Lake are settlements of ethnic Dao, Tay and H’mong. They are fortunate to enjoy the benefits of beautiful scenery and seemingly idyllic rural lifestyle, but they struggle with poor infrastructure and inadequate education. The people are resilient and have adapted to a life governed by the immediate needs of their own community, with little input from outsiders.
This is the first scheme to combine a tour with community volunteering and English teaching in Ba Be. The idea is to give you an unforgettable experience whilst aiding the inhabitants nearby in a practical and meaningful way. Instead of just observing each other from the shore and the tour boat, we can bridge the gap between visitors and villagers in a way that will benefit everyone. All of the projects are initiated only after we have consulted with the communities at the village, town and district level to ensure that each tour brings significant benefit to the schools and communities involved.