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Nga, Laos!

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Welcome to Nga

In the southeastern tip of Asia, nestled between Thailand and Vietnam, you’ll find the developing country of Laos. Deep within the cover of this country’s northernmost mountains resides a small, remote community, where families struggle to provide for their children and meet daily needs… until now.

Together we are working to empower individuals and unite communities: that’s the key to sustainable development and why community support is such an effective catalyst for change. Because of your support, great changes are coming to the people of Nga.

None of this would be possible without the partnership of sponsors like you. With your help, girls and their families in Nga are on their way to a better life.

Meet the children

 

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  • Group of children

    Smiles for miles

    Meet the children of Nga, Laos!

  • Chi

    Chi

    Chi, 10 (second from right, in yellow) collects water on behalf of her family, using an old petrol jug, from a communal water tap. When the water becomes muddy during the rainy season, she collects it from a local stream, instead. Without proper facilities at her school, she has to come home partway through the day.

  • Yeng

    Yeng

    Yeng, 11 (at top right), is in grade 5 at the local school. His family has faced – and continues to face – several health challenges, so his father hopes that Yeng will someday be a successful doctor and lead a life filled with prosperity and good health.

  • Nambon

    Nambon

    Nambon, 10 (at right), is Yeng’s sister and in Grade 4. Like any other child, she loves to play with her friends (some pictured with her here). Yet, she also carries a lot of responsibilities at home: she helps collect and boil water for her family, cares for her younger siblings and performs various household chores.

  • Xeer

    Xeer

    Xeer, 13 (at left), is both Nambon and Yeng’s sister, and dreams of working as a teacher. Unfortunately, as the oldest girl in her family she’s had to take on certain duties at home, causing her to drop out of school in Grade 4. Xeer primarily looks after her younger sister, who was born with a disability and requires full-time care.

  • Hamlea

    Hamlea

    Hamlea, 12 (pictured here with his sister), is in Grade 5. He dreams of becoming a police officer when he grows older. “Whatever their dreams are, we support them,” his parents told us.

  • Pheng

    Pheng

    Pheng, 10 (at left), is determined to learn. But without any pre-school available, she struggled to transition into primary classes and had to repeat her first grade. After persevering, she made it to the third grade and is learning to read and write. Now, Pheng wants to become a primary school teacher.

  • Leud

    Leud

    Leud, 12 (front left), is Pheng’s older brother who shares in Pheng’s commitment to school. He is currently in Grade 5 of his schooling and hopes to continue and fully complete his education. Leud dreams of becoming a soldier to aid and protect his community, and all of Lao.

  • Cheung

    Cheung

    Cheung, 9 (in blue, at right), is in Grade 4. She had struggled to pay attention in class, but not wanting to drop out, became determined to succeed. “She didn’t want to quit and she studied harder and got a better grade,” her father told us.

  • Xeu

    Xeu

    Xeu, 4 (at left, pictured here with a friend), isn’t yet old enough to attend school (5 is the minimum enrollment age). Instead, she and her two younger siblings play while accompanying their parents to the fields every day, over an hour away on foot. She’s looking forward to starting school soon..

  • Ya and Lue

    Ya and Lue

    Ya Tua, 11, and Lue, 8, brothers of both Cheung and Xeu, are each currently enrolled in school. Ya Tua is in Grade 6, while Lue is in Grade 4. As farmers with limited income, their parents dream that the boys and their siblings will graduate and secure more stable careers.

Meet the families

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  • THE XUA FAMILY

    THE XUA FAMILY

    Mother: Neung, 25
    Father: Nor, 32
    Children: 2 daughters, 3 sons (ages 3 to 11)

    The Xuas live in a single 250 square foot home together. They work as rice farmers, but don’t earn enough to generate income. On the rare occasion they have livestock, they sell them at a distant market to pay their two eldest children’s school fees – but the future is always uncertain.

    Since there is no pre-school or childcare available in the community, the youngest three children accompany parents Nor and Neung to the fields daily, located more than an hour away, on foot. This makes it very challenging for Nor and Neung to work, making them especially eager for local access to early education centres.

  • THE VA FAMILY

    THE VA FAMILY

    Mother: Deng, 25
    Father: Chong, 27
    Children: 1 daughter, 2 sons (ages 1 to 5)

    The Va’s are one of the poorest families in the community, earning less than $130 CAD per year, mainly from selling off livestock. Proper nutrition is an issue, as they can only really generate enough rice for consumption, along with collecting some local vegetables. Protein is rare addition to their diets, incorporated about once a month, if possible.

    After Chong’s father died at a young age, his widowed mother couldn’t afford to support him, forcing him to quit school before completing his primary education, and leaving him to largely fend for himself. Chong and Deng are excited to send their daughter, who has just turned 5, to school next year, and are hopeful that Plan will provide improved facilities, like latrines, to the school.

  • THE YEA FAMILY

    THE YEA FAMILY

    Mother: Nam Yea, 25
    Father: Por, 32
    Children: 5 daughters, 3 sons (aged 1 to 10)

    Por’s first wife, and the mother of the eldest 5 children, passed away during childbirth complications. Without access to clean water and proper sanitation, the entire family’s health is an ongoing issue. They generally retrieve water from a nearby, untreated stream and boil it when home, but drink from it directly when working in the fields – exposing them to the threat of waterborne illness.

    “It would be great if we could be supported with pre-school in our community,” said Por, whose two daughters struggled with a late transition into school and both had to repeat the first grade.

  • THE XIONG FAMILY

    THE XIONG FAMILY

    Mother: Yeng, 31
    Father: Va Thor, 45
    Children: 4 daughters, 3 sons (aged 9 months to 16)

    Health has been a problem for the Xiong family, which has led to further complications. Va Thor, the father, has been ill for a few years, meaning his wife leads most of the labour, like rice production, while the older children are taken out of school to assist her. Sadly, Va Thor and Yeng also lost a two-year-old son in 2014, due to illness.

    At 13, Xeer, the eldest girl in the family, had to drop out of school, when the responsibility of caring for her younger sister, Namchua, 7, fell on her shoulders. Namchua was born with a disability where he cannot walk or talk, and requires full-time care. The family is hopeful that this project will help improve their health and make education more inclusive and available for all.

  • THE YENG FAMILY

    THE YENG FAMILY

    Mother: Pa Xiong, 20
    Father: Chong, 22
    Children: 2 sons (aged 9 months to 2)

    Chong, Pa Xiong and their two small children live in a single hut alongside 15 others. Never having finished schooling themselves (they both dropped out to help out at home), they are excited at the prospect of their children receiving the proper education – along with all the opportunities that come with it – that neither had available to them.

Facts about Nga

Education

75%+

of the population cannot speak, read or write the official language.

Health

The main water source flows from an untreated river, posing threat of illness from contamination

Livelihood

Farming is the main activity, though markets can be

3 hours

away, by foot

Gender equality

Many girls don’t enroll in school until the age

10

Challenges and Project initiatives

Education

Two boys sitting outside of a classroom
  • More than 75% of the population cannot speak, read or write the official language (Lao) that is taught in schools, limiting their growth opportunities
  • No access to early childhood education or primary readiness programs
  • Poor education quality and school infrastructure (few supplies, no clean water or latrines)
  • Secondary schools are as far as 15km away and only reachable on rugged roads, by foot.
Girls clapping in a classroom
YOUR HELP WILL:

Improve the quality of education

  • Provide student scholarships and invest in teacher training, new school infrastructure, and learning materials like books and supplies
  • Offer pre-school and prep courses for children – particularly those that do not speak Lao, the language of instruction
  • Promote the importance of education to encourage enrolment in schools.

HEALTH, WATER AND SANITATION

Mother holding child
  • Clean water and sanitation facilities are not accessible near homes or schools, making children vulnerable to potentially deadly diseases like hepatitis A, cholera and diarrhea
  • The main water source flows from an untreated river, posing threat of illness from contamination
  • Human and animal waste flows down the river (water source), especially in the rainy season
  • Lack of understanding regarding proper health and hygiene practices, like handwashing.
Mother holding chilid
IMPROVE HEALTH AND ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION
  • Establish clean drinking water systems in schools, homes and at central community points, and train committees to maintain those systems
  • Equip schools with proper latrines and sanitation facilities, as well as educating students on how to improve hygiene and health
  • Help distribute nourishing food to children every day, through school-feeding programs.

LIVELIHOOD

Women holding her baby
  • Income generation opportunities are limited, especially for youth
  • Parents must miss work to care for young children who aren’t in school
  • Farming is the main livelihood activity, though markets for selling crops and livestock only take place 2x a month and can be up to 3 hours away, by foot.
Farmer standing with his pigs
ENHANCE LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES
  • Empower community members with skills and resources to carry out projects, run local services, and manage and maintain public assets – ensuring their long-term success
  • Provide care for younger children, enabling parents to focus on livelihood activities
  • Provide opportunities for elected youth to participate in valuable, compensated internships.

GENDER EQUALITY

4 children standing together
  • School environments are not favorable to girls’ attendance (e.g. lack of gender-separate latrines)
  • Largely patriarchal society, where girls are often denied education and child marriage is prevalent
  • Girls have higher school dropout rates than boys (often due to early marriage), and many girls don’t even enroll in school until the age of 10 (due to home childcare demands).
4 children standing together
PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY
  • Hold awareness initiatives – including teacher training – on the importance of protecting children’s rights and promoting gender equality
  • Develop various programs (like scholarships and establishing private gender-separate latrines at schools) to promote girls’ education and increase school attendance
  • Conduct sensitization efforts with parents to reduce child marriage and promote girls’ rights.

ADVOCATE TO INFLUENCE POLICY

  • Perform research and monitoring, and present policymakers with evidence-backed information to help update and improve current educational standards and practices
  • Open new lines of communication between youth, educators, leaders and government bodies to better collaborate, innovate and strengthen plans for an improved education system
  • Develop long-term strategies with schools so that even the most disadvantaged youth have the chance to access quality education

See how your support is changing lives

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