“Happy communal house” built for Xo Dang ethnic people in Nam Tra My District

Saturday, 2021-01-23 17:31:50
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The newly-constructed Quat house in Lang Loan Village
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NDO – The Song Foundation, a non-profit foundation that works to promote sustainable community development, recently carried out the ‘Happy Village’ housing project in Lang Loan Village, Tra Cang Commune, Nam Tra My District, Quang Nam Province. Accordingly, the project team successfully built a traditional communal house of the Xo Dang ethnic group.

The traditional communal house, locally known as a ‘Quat’ house by Xo Dang ethnic people in Nam Tra My District, is a stilt house in which the villagers can host community activities. It is not only a gathering place for the community and a space showcasing the art of sculpture of the Xo Dang people, but is also the pride and soul of the village.

According to villager Ho Van Cu, Quat house is a common house of the villagers where people can gather together. The house also has a bedroom for guests in the village where they can comfortably make themselves at home. Quat house is the “heart” of the village, he stressed.

However, the traditional stilt houses have gradually replaced by communal houses built by concrete, steel and iron. The traditional architectural style of the Quat house has almost disappeared from Xo Dang people’s villages in Nam Tra My District.

Thanks to the joint effort between the ‘Happy Villager’ project team and the local authorities and people, a ‘Quat’ house was constructed in Lang Loan Village at the end of 2020, true to the traditional architectural features of Xo Dang people, from the design, materials and surrounding areas.

The house was built with an investment of VND90 million from Song Foundation and VND30 million from the local authorities.

It was designed by architect Dinh Ba Vinh according to the descriptions of Xo Dang elders. In their memories, the Quat house has a triangular thatched rooftop and the walls and floor are made by clumping bamboo.

Vinh said that he had to stay and work together with the elders to win the trust of the elders and collect their opinions for the project.


Architect Dinh Ba Vinh making a miniature wooden model of a Quat house.

The construction of the house was greatly supported by villagers themselves. Young men were assigned to do woodworking while women collected palm leaves, clumped bamboo, and cleared the site.

Despite unfavourable weather condition, the wooden frame of the house was constructed successfully after one month, followed by the roof, walls, and floor. The top of the house is decorated with traditional decorative patterns and motifs of Xo Dang ethnic people.

On the inauguration day of the house, villagers prepared a worshiping ceremony to celebrate the new house. Even those who work far from the village also managed to return for the special occasion.

Speaking on behalf of the villagers, Ho Van Cu expressed his thank to the project team and the local authorities for the building of the house.

The new house is not only a venue for villagers to host festive and other important events but also a place helping local authorities to popularise and update villagers on the guidelines and policies of the Party and State.

Le Mai, head of Nam Tra My District’s office for culture, information and tourism, said that the construction of the Quat house is the highlight of the locality’s tourism. The district’s authorities are now closely coordinating with the Song Foundation to develop Lang Loan into an attractive culture and tourism village.

The ‘Happy Village’ project aims to support communities in regions frequently stricken by natural disasters and climate change. It works to build safe villages for local people and improve their living environment while preserving and promoting their cultural values.