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Friends of Central Highlands, Vietnam

About the Central Highlands

As an organization, most of our work is centered between the towns of Buon Ma Thuot and the town of Dak To, just north of Kon Tum on this map.

This area, commonly called the Central Highlands, has its own distinct climate and a culture that derives if flavor from the mix of the ethnic Viet peoples with a large number of ethnic minorities, commonly referred to in the West as Montagnard, meaning mountain people in French.

The name Montagnard is not normally recognized in the country of Viet Nam as it is considered a part of the French Colonial period by the government as well as by many of the ethnic peoples who have adopted the term Dega as a name for the overall mix of tribes in the area. These Central Highland minority peoples are ethnically distinct from Viet Nam’s other minorities and hill tribe groups such as the Hmong and Cham peoples.

This area in Viet Nam is not visited by many tourists and has many social problems. As the web page of the Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the United States of America* states:

…an evident gap in the material and moral life has indeed still existed between peoples living in the deltas and those living in mountain areas as well as among ethnic minorities themselves. The Vietnamese government has worked out specific policies and special treatments in order to help mountainous people catching up with lowland people, and made great efforts to develop and preserve traditional cultural identities of each ethnic minority group.

Without any preconceived political or religious ideas, it is for the assistance to and the love of the Central Highland’s people that we exist as an organization.

* http://www.vietnamembassy-usa.org



Vitenam Map


hard working feet of Vietnamese farmer
Planting rice near the Orphanage.


Vietnamese woman carrying wood on her back through the village
A Village woman collecting wood
for the village cooking fires.

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