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Planning for Lily’s best life, in Laos

Lily sits and sings.

Lily sings-along with her classmates during a lesson at her pre-school.

Four year-old Lily lives in a small village in north-west Laos, where she dreams of someday being a teacher. However, until recently, this dream seemed to be an unlikely one. As a result of widespread poverty, Lily’s village faced several challenges, which included a lack of proper sanitation and access to clean water. Her parents, who work as labourers in the field, earn just enough income to get by, struggling to escape the cycle of poverty.

If Lily got sick, they could not afford to seek medical attention at the hospital. As such, Lily had to miss school, while her parents had to stay home from work to care for her. This resulted in Lily’s parents having to forfeit their daily pay – reducing family income, further limiting healthcare options and ultimately reducing the opportunities extended to Lily.

Since Plan started executing initiatives in Lily’s community, David, a Plan Media Officer, has seen substantial improvement in the villagers’ quality of life. “What we’ve seen in particular in this community is the way Plan is helping to develop water systems, proper sanitation and toilets to prevent the spread of disease,” David explained. To ensure these are sustainable solutions, Plan also invests in education sessions, to inform parents on the importance of good hygiene.

Lily raises her hand in class.

Thanks to generous donors, Lily is leading a better life in Laos, filled with improved health, education and limitless potential!

Collectively, these advancements in health support the community as a whole and, in turn, benefit families and children like Lily and her parents.

Today, Lily is one step closer to her dream of becoming a teacher. Her pre-school has received arts, play, and learning materials for her and her peers to utilize and enjoy, and her teachers have received Early Childhood Care and Development training. Now that Lily’s teachers and parents can provide her with the tools she needs for the best possible start in life, she is ready to achieve the goals she sets.

“If the family continues to be supportive and Lily is able to maintain her education, I see no reason why she can’t one day be a teacher,” said David. “We have a 4-year-old girl, by nature of where she is born she doesn’t have the same opportunities, and she deserves them.”

Though they are the youngest community members, children hold great potential. It’s been proven that when we invest in girls, like Lily, they will use their hopes, motivation and leadership to better themselves, and the people around them. So whether a girl becomes a teacher, a doctor, or whatever occupation she chooses, one thing is certain: with ongoing support, Lily can be a catalyst for positive change, creating a brighter future for not just herself, but the world.