Laos is one of the poorest Countries in Asia. It’s about the same size as the UK, landlocked and nearly half is forested. The population is thought to be about 6.8 million people of whom about 60% live in the countryside and are mainly farmers and fisherman. It is thought that about 23% of the population still live in absolute poverty. Many others are poor by any standard.
Strangely given all these difficulties the people are kind, welcoming and happy. It is a country with large families. Many young country girls drop out from education, marry and are mums by the time they are sixteen.
Laos is a very diverse country and is made up of nearly fifty different ethnic groups. The three major groups are Lao, Hmong and Khmu. It was formed in 1975 after a civil war and is correctly called the Lao PDR.
For many people it is unbelievable to find out it is the most heavily bombed place on earth as a result of the Vietnam War. Huge areas have still not been cleared despite the tireless work of international UXO experts. Poor families still farm contaminated land and accept the risks of injury or death as they cannot live without food.
Today many families are moving to the towns in the hope of finding a better life away from farming. This is very difficult as jobs are in short supply.
LEOT helps many students that have moved with their families or have left home to live with extended families or simply in dormitories. Education in high school in the major towns like Luang Prabang gives them the chance of further education and a different destiny.
Further information about Laos