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Laos is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, bordered by Cambodia to the south, Vietnam to the east, Burma and the People’s Republic of China to the northwest and Thailand to the west. Its population was estimated to be around 6.8 million in July 2014. Since 1975, Laos has been ruled by a Marxist and communist government. Its population was estimated to be around 6.8 million in July 2014. The government of Laos recognized 149 ethnic groups within 47 main ethnicities.
Rivers are an important means of transport in Laos.
A third of the population of Laos currently living below the international poverty line, living on less than US$1.25 per day. Laos has a low-income economy, with one of the lowest annual incomes in the world. Laos remains one of the poorest and least developed countries in South East Asia. More than three quarters of the population live in rural areas. Extreme poverty is most common in mountainous regions, where the majority of the country’s ethnic minority peoples live.
Typical village house in the mountains of Bokeo province.
One of the most important insights emerging is that food insecurity and famine are not so much failures in food production but are structural problems related to poverty and to the fact that the majority of the developing world’s poor populations are concentrated in rural areas. In general, the most disadvantaged households are located in areas that are vulnerable to natural disasters; have no livestock; include a large number of dependants; and are headed by women.
Poverty is the critical humanitarian issue.
Laos’ population is dispersed unevenly across the country. Most people live in very humble dwellings in valleys of the Mekong River and its tributaries. Laos has the youngest population of any country in Asia with a median age of 21.6 years.
The official language is Lao. Laos is a multi-ethnic country with the Lao people making up approximately 60% of the population, mostly in the lowlands. Mon-Khmer groups, the Hmong, and other indigenous hill tribes, accounting for 40% of the population, live in the foothills and mountains.
Children of a hill tribe village.
With one of the lowest annual incomes in the world, Laos has a low-income economy. In 2013, Laos ranked in 138th place on the Human Development Index (HDI), indicating that Laos has lower medium to low development. Laos ranks as the 25th hungriest nation in the world out of the list of the 56 nations with the worst hunger situation.
Laos has had a poor human rights record. Overcoming the twin challenges of child labour and youth employment will be critical to progress towards the Millennium Development Goals in Laos. Estimates indicate that some 71,000 Lao children aged 6 – 13 years still work in employment (child labour). Only one of every four employed youth earns enough to escape poverty.
Today’s jobless or inadequately employed youth are often yesterday’s child labourers. 6 – 13 year olds log an average of over 40 working hours per week, more even than adult workers in industrialized countries. Children in rural areas who have little possibility of access to a school are the most vulnerable to child labour. 174,900 children aged 5-17 years are in child labour. For the poor village families, children’s earnings or productivity plays an important role in household survival.
Elementary school in rural region of Laos.
Many children reach primary school age without an adequate knowledge of Lao-Tai, the main language of instruction in schools, leaving them at a considerable disadvantage and at a greater risk of drop-out.
In HOUAYXAY, BOKEO province, many villages are comprised of ethnic groups who are the poorest of the poor. Schools are often far away and inaccessible to the children. Consequently, many children are deprived of a proper education. A few children are sent from their village to live with relatives in a distant village in order to attend a school and finish high school classes.
Project managers Mr & Mrs Khamkaeo Saesee.
Mr KhamKaeo Saesee and his wife (above centre) saw the great need of these disadvantaged children and took the initiative to open their home for children in who were in desperate need. This was the very humble beginnings of their project.
However, many of the children and youth from the poorest of poor villages face a significantly greater risk of being out of school and deprived of these educational and development opportunities. The project has outgrown their humble beginnings. A larger facility is needed.
Progress is made through the initiative and leadership of our project managers.
Laos is primarily a source country for women and girls trafficked primarily to Thailand for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation and forced labour as domestic or factory workers. Ethnic minority populations in Laos are particularly vulnerable to trafficking because of their lack of Thai language skills and unfamiliarity with Thai society. Internal trafficking is also a problem that affects young women and girls who are forced into prostitution in urban areas.
A child development Centre plays a crucial role, bridges the gap and protects the poorest children from child labour and child-trafficking.
Mr & Mrs Khamkaeo Saesee have plans to build Child Development Centre in Namkeung.
- To provide a refuge orphans and the poorest of poor children.
- To create a healthy and caring environment for vulnerable children
- To give the disadvantaged and deprived children an opportunity for development and learning.
- Orphans, the poor, the vulnerable and disadvantaged tribal children in Namkeung, comprised of a community 1200 people in the Houayxay district of Bokeo province.
The Child Development Namkeung Centre is intended to be that place for many children in of the Houayxay district, Bokeo province in Laos. You are invited to be an integral part of this important project. You can give these disadvantaged children a brighter future.
Are you willing to help many others like this child?
Every child has a right to be loved and cared for, a place where they can feel safe and protected.
IHO Global provides a platform to engage Australians as partners in an integrated approach to breaking the cycle of poverty in the Namkeung community of Bokeo province in Laos.
What a privilege it is to be a part of such a meaningful project.
Will you help us? Your donation can make a difference.