SOS Children in Laos

SOS Children Laos

Laos, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, is one of the few remaining communist states in the world. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Laos has struggled to find its position within a rapidly changing political landscape. Despite moves in recent years to a free market economy, Laos is still one of the world's least developed countries and one of the poorest, with nearly 50 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. Less than 5 per cent of the land is suitable for subsistence agriculture, which nevertheless provides around 80 per cent of employment. Outside the capital, many people live without electricity or access to basic facilities.

SOS Children's charity began working in Laos in 1995 when the first charity community was built in a rural area about 6 km from the centre of the capital, Vientiane, on the Mekong river close to the border with Thailand. SOS Children Vientiane has fourteen family houses, where the children are brought up in the local Buddhist tradition, and a youth house. In 1978, a School for 300 primary and secondary pupils was opened for children from the village and the local community, along with a social centre providing child care for local working families and counselling services.

The charity started a community in Pakse in 1998. Pakse is the capital of Champasak province about 800 km south of Vientiane. The village, which is not far from the centre of the town on Southern Highway no.13, is in a residential area surrounded by hills with shops and markets nearby. There are fourteen family houses and a youth house as well as a kindergarten for 100 children. Like Vientiane, Pakse has its own SOS school providing primary and secondary education for 650 pupils.

SOS Children Xiengkhouang is in north-east Laos in Ban Nam Ngam, a suburb of Phonsavan, the capital of Xiengkhouang province which was virtually destroyed during the civil war from 1964-1973. Phonsavan itself is a commercial centre but the area is agricultural, known for rice cultivation and cattle breeding. The village has twelve family houses providing a permanent home for around 120 children as well as a kindergarten for 100 children. There is a combined primary and secondary SOS school next to the village with 1100 pupils from the surrounding area. The school football pitch was sponsored by FIFA.

The charity opened a fourth community in Laos, SOS Children Luang Prabang, opened in 2001. It is on the outskirts of the ancient capital of the former Laotian kingdom of Lan Xang, near the village of Ban Pong on the main road to Muang Khai. Many orphaned children from the local hill tribes end up in Luang Prabang. Most of them speak only their own tribal dialect and have not learned the Laotian language. The village has fourteen family houses and a kindergarten for 100 children, both local and from the village. The site, which was donated to SOS by the local authorities, includes a paddy field and a pond. A school with twelve classrooms for 650 primary and secondary pupils is currently under construction.

A fifth SOS Children's Village was opened in Samneua, in the north-east of Laos in April 2004. There are 12 family houses that are home to 120 children. In addition there are two extra family houses that provide temporary care to vulnerable children from the neighbourhood. There is also a kindergarten for 120 children.

The sixth SOS Children's Village is currently under construction in Savannakhet in the south of the country. When completed it will have 15 family houses, an SOS Nursery School and an SOS Social Centre.

Local contacts

SOS Children's Villages of Laos

SOS Children's Villages of Laos
PO Box 3503, Muang Xaythany
KM6, Road Nr 13
Vientiane / Laos
Tel +856/21/710 544
Fax +856/21/710 163

Laos Child Sponsorship

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