Sabaidee, I’m David from New Zealand (a kiwi) who’s passionate about supporting people in Laos (a beautiful, small, poor, landlocked country in South East Asia). The purpose of this blog is to write about life in Laos, provide updates on projects and allow people to provide support, with a focus on my home country of New Zealand.
What I do
I share my skills and train Lao locals, develop learning resources and setup computer infrastructure, so Lao teachers can teach youth. Students go on to get better jobs to support their families and the inspiration they gain encourages new students to learn and improve their lives too. ..and the cycle continues.
I help by
giving computing education skills.
giving and maintaining computer equipment and support.
supporting local communities, people and projects.
I volunteer with a charity school in Luang Prabang which teaches English and Computer Studies to 300 students from poor families. I started assisting them in 2013 and became a Trustee in 2016.
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. Individuals, just like you and me, are achieving much of this and this is what spurs me on.
“Individually we are one drop, together we are an ocean” – Ryunosuke Satoro
Background to Laos and poverty
Sai bat (alms giving)
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 at an early age as they are required 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 planeload 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 estimated to be about half what would be expected for a country at this level of development.
Students learning computers
Who benefits from my efforts?
Youth between 16 and 22.
Families and the wider community.
How do people benefit?
I train and up-skill local Lao teachers so they can teach 300 students each year.
Students have an opportunity to learn 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 having access to technology or financially through the graduate getting work and earning money.
Communities benefit from outreach programmes such as supplying necessary clothing, bedding, skills and labour to improve facilities in rural villages.
Graduates gain confidence and go on to inspire others to learn and develop.