Since 2012, the international NGO Caritas Switzerland and the Vietnamese NGO PanNature, funded by Misereor, has implemented the community-based tourism project in Nam Dam
village, Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province, Vietnam.

The objective of this project was to develop a tourism model in Nam Dam as a pilot of how community-based tourism can contribute towards the improvement of local people’s lives while preserving their cultural and natural heritage.

A promotional video for attracting tourists and tour operators has been planned, using a participatory storytelling approach. With help of ParticipatoryStory, four short clips were developed by the community, in which the participants present a short portrait of their village history, culture and daily life as well as their homestays with the cross-over storytelling technique. From these short clips, different sequences have been integrated into the promotional tourism video which you can find at the end of this blog.

The Yao nationality (its great majority branch is also known as Mien) is a government classification for various minorities in China. In addition to China, Yao also live in northern Vietnam, northern Laos, Burma and Thailand. The Yao nationality or “người Dao” as spelled in Vietnamese form one of the 54 ethnic groups officially recognized by Vietnamese government.

Language & Writings
There are several distinct groups within the Dao nationality, and they speak several different languages, ranging from traditional Chinese to several dialects all over Vietnam, Lao and Thailand. Several written languages also co-exist. Nowadays, the young generation cannot read their traditional written languages anymore and many books have already been lost as they have been sold to wealthy buyers from China or Vietnam.

Mr. Ly Quoc Thang about the ancient book of Nam Dam village

The origins of the Dao can be traced back 2,000 years, starting in Hunan Province in China. During the Laotian Civil War in the 1960s and 70s, the Dao tribes of Laos had a good relationship with U.S. forces and were dubbed an “efficient friendly force”. This relationship caused the Laotian government to target Dao tribal groups for revenge once the war was over. This triggered further immigration into Thailand. In the last census in 2000, they numbered roughly 470,000 people in Vietnam where most of them live in the North, close to the Chinese border, like Ha Giang province. Not only because of a history of relocation, bamboo trees are of significant importance for Dao people as bamboo often grows in clusters with a strong vitality. This represents the solidarity of Dao people as well as their diligence and loyalty to their homeland.

Mr. Trieu Van Hanh about the history of Bamboo village

The men and the women of the Dao people cover their heads  with a black (Black Dao) or red (Red Dao) scarf. The traditional suit of the women is of bright colors. They also decorate their shirts with decorations made out of silver. Most Dao people depend on agriculture, but nowadays new forms of income are being generated, like pro-poor community homestay tourism. The typical houses of the Dao are rectangular, and they have structures made of wood and bamboo. Normally a Dao house has three rooms: a room and two dormitories in the lateral side. Each one of these rooms has a small oven for cooking. Traditionally, Dao people give shelter to birds by preparing birds nests in their homes – a symbol of Dao hospitality.

Mr. Ly Dai Duyen about the Dao hospitality

In Vietnam, Dao people celebrate many exciting and meaningful festivals such as Nhiang chằm đao (“Jumping Festival”) or Nhơn chung lỉnh (“Red rice, Green rice”). These festivals show the importance of rice farming in the Dao culture. According to a folk legend, in ancient times, rice would appear from the heaven
in the form of a large ball in every house. On one occasion, a lady was sweeping the floor of her house as ordered by her husband to welcome the rice ball. The large rice ball landed in the house when the lady was still sweeping and it hit the broom and then broke into many pieces. Since then people in Vietnam have had
to work hard with their hands to grow rice. The northern highlands are home to typical upland rice varieties.
In a good year, a farming family in these regions produces roughly 100 sacks of rice (each having a weight about 50kg), bringing around 35.000.000 VND or $1,600. All rice is planted, harvested, transported and dried by hand. In Vietnam, rice is called ‘white gold’ and links to the Sanskrit name ‘Dhanya’ which means: “the sustainer of the human race”.

 The community about rice production

Download the Media Booklet with more Information here:

Buch Nam Dam Deckblatt


Making of Gallery

This project has been realized in Vietnam in cooperation with gizlogo-cim-kunstpap-en-rgb-300