Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Seventeen-year-old Khied (pictured above) remembers the haunting sound of people crying in pain after a devastating flood destroyed her village this year.

The teen from Attapeu Province, in southern Laos, was getting ready for bed when everything suddenly turned dark and water came gushing into the house.

“I heard a sound like wind and the power in the whole village went off,” Khied says. “I woke my younger brother and sister up and prepared to leave.”

For Khied, the flood – which resulted after the collapse of a dam in Attapeu in July 2018 – was the “most terrible nightmare imaginable”.

After their home was destroyed, she remembers being dragged out with her brother and sister by the force of the water, to the forest.

It was five days before they saw their parents again.

“During the flood, I told my sister and brother to hold onto a tree so we would not float away,” Khied recalls. “There was so much debris like roofs, and logs and rocks that hit us.

“I had to stay alert and take care of my brother and sister so they wouldn’t be scared.”

The siblings ended up on a mountain in the forest, where they stayed overnight.

The next day, Khied saw the extent of the devastation. Debris was floating everywhere and there wasn’t a house in sight.

“I could only hear the sounds of people, injured and crying,” she says.

“I tried looking for my parents and calling out for them, but I didn’t see them anywhere.”

Everyone knows a version of the saying “give someone a fish and they will eat for a day; teach them to fish and they will eat for a lifetime”.

In landlocked Laos, fishing may not always be a valuable skill, but the essence of this saying still rings true.

Instead of relying on seafood, families in Laos are dependent on agriculture-based activities to feed their families.

Unfortunately, many families in Laos’ most disadvantaged communities do not have farms that are productive enough to provide a balanced diet, leading to some of Asia’s highest rates of malnutrition.

When you buy seeds for a family in Laos, you not only provide a starting kit for a nutrient-rich home garden, you will provide training that helps families ensure their vegetables thrive.

Your gift of seeds can help end child malnutrition and give families an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. Here are five reasons why you should give the gift of seeds.

1. You will help families that need it most

To reach the most vulnerable children, ChildFund conducts nutrition surveys in villages in northern Laos. These surveys identify children under five who are malnourished. Their parents are invited to workshops where they receive training from local experts and seeds to start home gardens.

Research has found that malnutrition early in life can have lifelong consequences, which is why young children are most at risk. Not only are malnourished children more likely to get sick and miss out on a happy childhood, they are less likely to excel at school which in turn reduces their chances of finding decent employment further down the track. This can impact families for generations.

Your gift of seeds can help prevent malnutrition early in child’s life, and put them on a course that can transform their lives, and the lives of future generations.