Xiengkhouang province is located in the north-east of Laos and has a population of almost 230,000 people. Phonsavan, where our Children's Village is located, is the capital of the province and serves as the main hub for economic and social activity here.
Most families in Xiengkhouang rely on agriculture and cattle breeding for their livelihood, though Phonsavan is home to a bustling market and small businesses that produce handicrafts and silk cloth. The area also attracts a growing number of tourists, who come to experience it's natural beauty and visit the "Plain of Jars" historical site.
Xiengkhouang is one of the most deprived provinces of what is already a very poor country. Added to this is the remoteness of the area, which makes it difficult for poor families to access services that would help them get by. All of this can make life very hard for children growing up here.
Though most make a living from farming, many still struggle to offer their children the nutritious meals they need to grow up healthy and strong. Even when they are able to meet these basic needs, education remains a distant hope, making it difficult for children to break from the cycle of poverty.
The legacy of conflict
Though the widespread fighting of the Laotian civil war ended decades ago, the impact of this conflict reverberates into the present. Xiengkhouang is littered with unexploded munitions and the risk that these present to farmers makes it hard for them to earn a living off the land.
Even more worryingly, many adults and children will often actually look for explosives in order to sell the scrap metal and generate are basic income. This is dangerous work, it can lead to death and injury and has left many children without parental support.
Our work in Xiengkhouang
We started our work in the province in 1999 and it is our third SOS Children's Village in Laos. We have continued to adapt to local conditions and focus on ensuring children get the best care possible.
Our SOS social centre offers a range of essential services to families in Xiengkhouang. Not least amongst them is our nutritional programme, which targets malnourished children, cares for them and offers them the nutrition they need to get back to a healthy weight. This is a vital service given the area's high rates of child malnutrition.
Just as important, are our SOS nursery and SOS school that offer education to the children of Xiengkhouang. This is an opportunity many would otherwise not have and will help them achieve their full potential later in life.
Care in the family
Children who can no longer live with their biological parents are able to find a home with one of 12 SOS families in our SOS Children's Village Xiengkhouang. Here, they are cared for by their dedicated SOS mother and are able to attend the SOS nursery and school with local children, helping them fit in and make friends.
When they are old enough to leave their SOS family, these children can join the SOS youth programme. They are given shared accommodation whilst they undertake further education or training and are supported by a team of professional counsellors as they take their next steps in life.
When children have lost their family, we provide them with a new one in our Children's Village in Xiengkhouang. Here they receive love, care and education. This is only possible with your help. Please sponsor a child in Laos today.