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Hanoi girl digs deeper into Vietnam cultural strata

A Hanoi girl has initiated a program to help her like-minded peers delve deeper into Vietnam’s traditional cultural art heritage and arouse their pride in it.

In June 2012, Nguyen Thu Ha, nicknamed Ha Lemy, founded a project called “Toi Xe Dich” (I move), a nonprofit project to help young people like herself explore further the country’s traditional art items and cultural relics and matters.

A graduate of Hanoi Foreign Trade University, Ha was named runner-up of the 2012 “60s chinh phuc nha dau tu” (60s Contest), a playground launched by Viet Youth Entrepreneurs (VYE) to encourage students to display their knowledge, express their opinions, and improve their English skills.

Right after the contest, she expanded her “Vietnam Travel Radio” project, which she submitted to the contest, into “toixedich.com,” focusing more on promoting the country’s culture and art among local youths and tourists.

“Infatuated with the country’s culture and art, I believe that ‘moving’ here isn’t limited to trips taken by many of today’s youths. Each of ‘Toi Xe Dich’ trips is a reflective journey to explore and look back on time-honored traditional values. The trips turn participants’ pride into motivation to contribute to the country later,” Ha, who now works as a marketing agent for a local company, talked about her project.

Some hundreds of local youths have joined Ha’s various activities, including “Windy Day” trips around Hanoi and to Laos, visits to Hanoi’s icons Van Mieu – Quoc Tu Giam (the country’s first university) and historically significant Long Bien Bridge, and “Viec Lang” (Village Matters) talks discussing a wide variety of cultural matters in great depth.

With only some ten youths partaking in her first activity in the beginning, her trips now draw over 300 young cultural, art buffs each.

What Ha finds most heartening is the cooperation and encouragement of the country’s leading experts in different traditional cultural and art areas, such as veteran “cheo” (northern traditional music) artist Thanh Ngoan, director of the Vietnam Cheo Theater, and translator Nguyen Xuan Hong, who serve as advisors and guest speakers for her project.

Several young people are also hugely supportive of Ha’s project. One of them is the owner of Nha Met Café in Hanoi, who has offered a free venue for Ha’s “Viec Lang” talk series

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