Positioned in the extreme south-west of the country, Pakse is the provincial capital of Champasak and is just 19 miles away from the border with Thailand. It is some 430 miles from the Laotian capital of Vientiane.
Prior to 2001, much of the population worked in agriculture, but when a bridge was built across the Mekong River just outside the city centre, commercial activities began to grow. Pakse has also become a popular place for tourists to visit thanks to the beautiful natural sites located nearby.
As money has started to flow into the city, the population has swelled in number. People from poorer rural towns in the province seek better lives in the city, away from the hardship they faced in isolated settlements.
Poverty still abounds
Unfortunately, this growth in population has put enormous strain on infrastructure and the city now houses an increasing number of poverty stricken families. Indeed, it is estimated that a third of all households remain poor.
These communities are predominantly found in the lower-lying areas of the city. Due to the poor drainage and vastly inadequate waste collection services here, vulnerable children are being exposed to the all-too common diseases linked to poor sanitation. This is exacerbated by flooding which is a real risk thanks to the city’s position at the meeting-point of two rivers.
What is SOS Children doing?
Pakse was the second location in Laos where we established a Village. It provides services that are much need in the local area and is a safe haven for many children.
Children who no longer have parental care grow up in SOS families, with SOS brothers and sisters. An SOS mother cares for each family and supports the children, helping them to enjoy a happy and fulfilling childhood.
Providing daycare and education is another key aim of SOS Children in Pakse, and the nursery can look after as many as 100 young children at a time. The group is a mixture of local children as well as those from the Village itself.
The school is set up in a similar way to the nursery, with children from SOS families and the local community benefiting from a proper education. Another advantage of this is that parents are able to go to work knowing that their children are being well looked after.
Of course, the help we offer does not end when children leave school. We continue to support young adults as they choose their path into work or further education and training.
Helping the region to thrive
In a city that has seen much change over the past decade or so, our Children’s Village plays an important role in providing help where it is most needed. We provide a framework that creates strong bonds among the community and gives children a chance at a better future while ensuring they are well looked after in the present.
Every child deserves the best opportunities in life. This is why we are committed to supporting vulnerable families Pakse.