Kon Tum province has 756 villages and hamlets and ethnic minority groups, making up over 54 percent of the province’s population.

Born in 1950 in a family rich in revolutionary tradition, Old A Lat from the Xo Dang ethnic minority group in Kon Don village, Ngok Reo commune, Dak Ha district, has held different positions. After retirement, as an exemplary party member, he has been entrusted by the local people to hold different posts in the village.

Old A Lat meets with and encourages a youth at the age of doing military service.

Old A Lat shared that to mobilize people to follow, the prerequisite is that party cadres and members must set examples, “talk the talk and walk the walk.” Through his explanations, locals could further understand directions and instructions of local party committee and authorities. Through him, local higher levels have learned more about the people’s thoughts and aspirations. As a result, all villagers have joined hands to build a prosperous life.

According to Chairwoman of Ngok Reo commune People’s Committee Pham Thi May, other village patriarchs and reputable people in the commune have promoted their responsibility, actively disseminated information to raise locals’ awareness of the Party’s guideline and the State’s laws and policies, particularly those in new-style rural area building. Thus, local people, especially ethnic minority ones, have changed their minds and tried their best to escape poverty sustainably.

As a role model in economic development and a party member, village patriarch Dinh Duy Phuong from the H're ethnic minority group in Dak Pro village, Dak Tang commune, Kon Plong district has regularly guided and assisted locals in applying advanced techniques to farming and husbandry.

Dak Pro village is one of the three most remote villages of the commune with unfavorable soil and hard living conditions. To convince people to follow, in 2016, Old Phuong studied coffee tree-planting techniques. Thanks to his industriousness and love to study, he has doubled his areas of coffee trees to more than two hectares. Apart from coffee, his family has also cultivated wet rice, raised cattle and poultry, and the family’s income has increased. He said that “we have to set an example first and then tell people to follow. If we teach people how to get rich but we are still poor, they won’t follow.”

Acknowledging the important role of village patriarchs, village heads, and reputable people, the provincial Military Command’s Party Committee and Chain-of-Command have held regular meetings with them and presented gifts to them during big festivals and events of the country, said Senior Colonel Trinh Ngoc Trong, Chief of the command. These activities have helped boost the ties between Uncle Ho’s soldiers and ethnic minority people in general and village patriarchs, village heads, and reputable people in particular.

Most recently, the command honored village elders, village heads, and reputable people with great contribution to military and defense task performance in the 2018-2023 period.

Over the past time, with their experience, prestige and exemplary role, village elders, village heads and reputable people of Kon Tum province have inspired local people to enthusiastically boost production, support each other in economic development, hunger elimination and poverty reduction, contributing to maintaining political security, social order and safety, building wealthy, beautiful, prosperous and happy villages. Village patriarchs, village heads, and reputable people who are party members are truly “leading birds” in the Central Highlands so that local people listen to what they speak, take actions when they make appeals, and follow what they do.

Translated by Mai Huong