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.
Our Work in Laos
SOS Children began working in Laos in 1995 when our first SOS Children’s Village was built in a rural area about 6km from the centre of the capital, Vientiane, on the Mekong river close to the border with Thailand.
SOS Children’s Village Vientiane has 14 family houses, where the children are brought up in the local Buddhist tradition, and an SOS Youth Home. In 1978, an SOS School for 300 primary and secondary pupils was opened for children from the Village and the local community, along with an SOS Social Centre providing child care for local working families and counselling services.
We established a second Village in Pakse in 1998. Pakse is the capital of Champasak province, about 800km 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 14 family houses and an SOS Youth Home as well as an SOS Nursery for 100 children. Like Vientiane, Pakse has its own SOS School providing primary and secondary education for 650 pupils.
SOS Children’s Village Xiengkhouang is in the north-east of Laos in Ban Nam Ngam, a suburb of Phonsavan, the capital of Xiengkhouang province. The province 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 12 family houses providing a permanent home for around 120 children as well as an SOS Nursery 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.
We opened a fourth Village in Laos in Luang Prabang, in 2001. The SOS Children’s Village 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 have found a new home in the Village in Luang Prabang. Most of them speak only their own tribal dialect and have not learned the Laotian language.
The Village has 14 family houses and an SOS Nursery for 100 children, both from the local community and from the Village. The site, which was donated to SOS Children by the local authorities, includes a paddy field and a pond. An SOS School with 12 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 an SOS Nursery for 120 children.
SOS Children’s Village of Laos
POB 3503, Ban Sivilay,
Muang Xayth, Hom 02, Km 6,
Kaysone Phomvihane Rd
Tel: +856/21/710 544
Fax: +856/21/710 163
“SOS Children” refers to SOS Children’s Villages worldwide. SOS Children is also a working name for SOS Children’s Villages UK. Charity Commission registered number 1069204