The Montagnard Dega Association (MDA), an SCSJ community partner located in Greensboro, N.C., is using new media to make sure that their “hard-to-count” group will have the resources they need in the upcoming decade.
The MDA is a North Carolina Refugee Service Provider that is now focusing on making sure that the Montagnard population gets counted in the 2010 Census. North Carolina’s Montagnard population is the largest outside Southeast Asia. However, this community has been counted as Vietnamese or Cambodian for more than 20 years and has been provided with information in languages they often do not understand, effectively denying this group the resources it needs for day-to-day life.
In an effort to change this, the MDA is encouraging all Montagnards to check “Asian-American” on the census questionnaire and fill in “Montagnard.” In order to make sure individuals understand how to do this, the MDA is producing a series of YouTube videos in each language spoken by this growing section of the community. Already posted are instructional videos in Rhade and Bunong, with three more in Koho, Bahnar, and Jarai coming soon.
The videos go through the questionnaire and translate each question with an audio guide and in written form. The MDA hopes that this will give a more accurate count of the Montagnard population and improve the quality of life of this group overall.