A Step Up to a Muong ethnic minority family

Joyful Nhao, wife Tinh and son Nhi at the completion of their new house (July 2021). 

With an unstable monthly income of about US$43 from Nhao’s ‘day laborer’ work, their family can only pay for basic needs. Nhao’s wife, Tinh, is suffering from mental illness, and despite her condition, she has not received an illness certificate (Giấy xác nhận khuyết tật), that shows her need for specific social support from the government.  For years, Tinh could not access any social support. Nhao thought that a stable home will help his wife cope with her illness better. His family lived in a run-down house made of decayed bamboo beams and covered by nylon sheets. “We have been poor my whole life. I am getting old now and I don’t know how much time I have left. I feel bad seeing my son grow up in this situation.”

The new home of Nhao and Tinh was funded by LG Electronics through Habitat Korea under a project called “Healthy Homes and Healthy Communities: Improved living conditions and settlements for ethnic minority people in Vietnam”. Volunteers from the U.S. Federal Women of the embassy in Vietnam and USAID also supported in the construction of the house. During the theme-focused build, Habitat Vietnam conducted a discussion on housing and mental health, including the impacts of mental health in family or household dynamics, the unknown potential mental health issues faced by their son Nhi, among others.  The discussion enabled the participants to understand how marriages are dictated by cultural traditions.  Both Nhao and Tinh are from the Muong ethnic minority group.

In 2021, Nhao’s family moved to a new decent home to strive for a better future. “I feel so thankful and blessed to see the very first steps of my son in this new home. It is the start of our future that my wife and I have always dreamt of,” says Nhao.


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