Kon can finally go to school
Nine-year-old Kon lives in a remote village in rural Laos, only accessible by winding dirt roads through mountainous terrain. Kon lives with a physical disability that makes walking difficult.
When he was 18 months old, his parents noticed he wasn’t walking like the other children his age. A doctor told them that a bone in his ankle had not developed properly and wouldn’t be able to support his weight to walk. The only solution was surgery, but unfortunately his parents couldn’t afford it.
Kon’s parents are both farmers and often leave the house at dawn and return home at sunset. Sometimes they stay in the field overnight if it is too late to travel home. With his parents busy working to provide the necessities for the family and Kon’s inability to walk, this has meant he hasn’t been able to go to school.
While his friends are at school, Kon stays at home to care for his younger brother and sister, often doing housework like laundry, and tidying the house. He gets around by crawling. However, Kon doesn’t let his disability keep him from living and making the most out of his life. Much like other children his age, he is a lively young boy with plenty of energy and playfulness.
In his spare time, he and his friends explore the village, crawling through bushes, and through mud. He always returns home smiling, with blisters and scrapes on his knees.
In January Kon received a walking aid from ChildFund in Laos. He learned how to use the walking aid through various warm-up exercises and techniques. Local partner Walking Aids for Children with Disability Association (ACDA) checks in on his progress every two months.
This walking aid now means Kon can soon start going to school on his own. He is excited to start first grade. He was particularly looking forward to learning mathematics. When asked why, he said, “I like mathematics because it’s useful. It’s something I’m good at. I already use it whenever I buy food at the store, and it is something I can use every day.”
With the help of his friends and family, Kon’s mobility has significantly improved in a short time. “I don’t get tired at all using the walking aid. In fact, I’m always very, very happy whenever I use it. As for my dreams for the future, I don’t really know what I want to be yet. Right now, all I want is to be able to go to school. Every day I see my friends going and I hope I get to join them soon.”
ChildFund in Laos’ Better Outcomes for Inclusive Learning (BOIL) project works in collaboration with government partners, ACDA, school management, and primary teachers to improve the capacity for providing disability inclusive education.
The project includes equipping school management and local government authorities with the capacity to plan, monitor, and support quality inclusive education. Parents and caregivers are supported to provide inclusive learning environments for boys and girls, including children with disabilities.
This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).