Today, Lao, who lives in a farming community in Xiengkhouang Province, near the border with Vietnam, is mostly confined to her home and to doing easy tasks that require sitting or that don’t require her to walk long distances. Her injury prevents her from working in the fields like other girls her age.
She is worried about her future. There are few jobs in her community that do not involve manual labour and she feels she may never have the chance to have her own family.
“I’m afraid that I won’t be able to get married,” Lao says, fighting off tears. “I can’t generate income for the family, so no one here will want to marry me.”
With the support of ChildFund’s community sponsors, UXOs across more than 50,000 square metres of land have been cleared, including parts in Lao’s community, allowing children to play safely and families to farm more land.
“People burn their fields each year to prepare for planting; when I was younger you could hear the explosions going off,” Lao says. “Now when people burn their fields, we don’t hear explosions anymore.
“I think children are also much better informed about UXOs than when I was young.”
Lao’s job prospects are limited because of her injury, but she hopes to learn to sew one day and become a tailor.
“If it could happen, I would have a way to generate income on my own, in spite of my injury,” she says. “Then I would be able to get married again, and could have a job and a family.”
How you can help
ChildFund’s work in Laos helps make communities safer for children like Lao.
As a community sponsor, you’ll make a huge impact by tackling the root causes of child poverty and helping communities become self-sufficient.
Your community sponsorship will be used to deliver projects that benefit the most vulnerable children and their families.