Sabaidee (Hello), My name is David and I’m passionate about helping people in Laos – a beautiful, small, (and poor) landlocked country in South East Asia.
I started my blog in 2013 to share stories, raise awareness and provide an opportunity to people around the world to help share in improving the lives of Lao people.
Creating a brighter future for Lao youth
TEACHING: Educating Lao teachers in computing skills who in turn teach 300+ Lao students each year. Better jobs allow young workers in Laos to support their families.
SKILL TRANSFER: Working with other like-minded individuals and organisations in Laos and abroad to transfer skills so youth can improve their lives and gain employment.
COMMUNITY WORK: Working together with other volunteers and organisations to provide equipment, supplies and labour to improve community facilities in Laos.
INTERNATIONAL AID: Enabling foreign aid to be collected and reach where it is needed on the ground in Laos for communities and individual hardships.
What I do in Laos:
I volunteer with local Lao people and organisations to empower and support local communities to reduce poverty and inmprove their lives.
Students go on to get better jobs, staff develop and can support their families. The inspiration they gain encourages others to learn and improve … so a cycle is born, communities develop and poverty declines.
There are many great projects taking place with minimal resources. Every bit of help counts and together we are making a real, positive impact on people’s lives. At times it feels the problems are so great, things will never improve. However, people, just like you and me, are making a difference and this is what encourages me to continue.
Ryunosuke Satoro said “Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean”
Background to Laos and poverty
Sai bat (almsgiving)
Lao people are a peaceful lot and Buddhism is at the basis of Lao culture. Most people live in rural villages clustered around a temple and education is limited yet is seen as a key step towards poverty reduction.
1 in 10 Lao children never attend primary school or receive any formal schooling.
The average age of the population is 19 years and more than 40% of the population is under 15 years old.
Students often leave school at an early age to work on the family farm and many teenage girls leave to have children.
Over 25% live in poverty and 75% of people suffer daily hardship.
80% of the population are subsistence farmers. 32% live in urban areas and the rest in hard to reach mountainous places.
Healthcare is limited. Life expectancy is only 66 years. Laos is one of the world’s poorest countries.
Since the 90’s prostitution, drug use, and petty crime have increased due to a lack of economic opportunities for youth and poor access to education.
From 1964 to 1973, during the Secret US War, a plane-load of bombs was dropped every 8 minutes, 24-hours a day, for 9 years – making Laos the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. One-third of the land is contaminated. 40% of deaths from bombs today are children.
Productivity is about half what would be expected for a country at this level of development.
How do people benefit?
I train and up-skill local Lao teachers so they can teach 300 students each year. (Long-term skill transfer).
Students have an opportunity to learn better in a structured environment with access to a teacher and technology.
Learning computer, along with English, skills improve job opportunities.
Siblings and other family members benefit by the graduate getting work earning income.
Graduates gain confidence and go on to inspire others to learn and develop.
Communities benefit from outreach programmes such as supplying necessary clothing, bedding, skills, labour and income streams to improve facilities in rural villages.