Sabaidee (Hello), I’m passionate about helping people in Laos, a beautiful, small, (and poor) landlocked country in South East Asia.

This blog is a place to share stories, ideas, raise awareness and provide an opportunity to help improve the lives of Lao people. I first came to Laos in 2011 and have helped here ever since.

Creating a brighter future for Lao youth

What I do in Laos:

For 7 years I have worked with a registered NGO school training Lao teachersand developing computer learning resources. I also work with a leading travel conmpany in Luang Prabang upskilling Lao staff and providing opportunities to local staff and communities through travel and development projects.

The impact:

Students go on to get better jobs, staff develop and can support their families. The inspiration they gain encourages others to learn and improve … so a cycle is born, communities develop and poverty declines.

There are many great projects taking place with minimal resources. Every bit of help counts and together we are making a real, positive impact on people’s lives. At times it feels the problems are so great, things will never improve. However, people, just like you and me, are making a difference and this is what encourages me to continue.

 Ryunosuke Satoro said “Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean”

Background to Laos and poverty

Computer education in Laos

Sai bat (almsgiving)

Lao people are a peaceful lot and Buddhism is at the basis of Lao culture. Most people live in rural villages clustered around a temple and education is limited yet is seen as a key step towards poverty reduction.

  • 1 in 10 Lao children never attend primary school or receive any formal schooling.
  • The average age of the population is 19 years and more than 40% of the population is under 15 years old.
  • Students often leave school at an early age to work on the family farm and many teenage girls leave to have children.
  • Over 25% live in poverty and 75% of people suffer daily hardship.
  • 80% of the population are subsistence farmers. 32% live in urban areas and the rest in hard to reach mountainous places.
  • Healthcare is limited. Life expectancy is only 66 years. Laos is one of the world’s poorest countries.
  • Since the 90’s prostitution, drug use, and petty crime have increased due to a lack of economic opportunities for youth and poor access to education.
  • From 1964 to 1973, during the Secret US War, a plane-load of bombs was dropped every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. One-third of the land is contaminated. 40% of deaths from bombs today are children.
  • Productivity is about half what would be expected for a country at this level of development.
Students learning computers

Lao Students learning computer skills

Who benefits?

  • Youth between 16 and 22.
  • Young workers 18 – 30 and more mature employees and their families.
  • Teachers their families and the wider community.

How do people benefit?

  • I train and up-skill local Lao teachers so they can teach 300 students each year. (Long-term skill transfer).
  • Students have an opportunity to learn better in a structured environment with access to a teacher and technology.
  • Learning computer, along with English, skills improve job opportunities.
  • Siblings and other family members benefit by having access to technology or financially through the graduate getting work and earning money.
  • Communities benefit from outreach programmes such as supplying necessary clothing, bedding, skills and labour to improve facilities in rural villages.
  • Graduates gain confidence and go on to inspire others to learn and develop.

Without action, there is no outcome.