“The big problem is that they drop out of the school,” he says.
“We are seeing this problem here. Children drop out of school, or they start school late. According to the education regulations, children need to start school at six years old but that does not happen here in the rural villages.
“So they don’t go to school at the right time and they are not in the grade they should be.”
Pim says it is upsetting to see her students come to school with empty bellies. When possible, she goes home and returns with rice for the children who haven’t eaten, but she cannot always do that. She has three children of her own to care for.
ChildFund is tackling this widespread problem by providing vital equipment and training to help identify malnourished children at the earliest age. This project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).
The parents of these children receive training on food and nutrition, as well as agriculture classes to help them establish home gardens and improve their farms and crops.
Parents are also given seeds to grow new food varieties that will supplement the family diet and which can also lead to small business opportunities.
Thaimoua, who grow up in the local area, said these steps are vital to the long-term development of some of Laos’ most disadvantaged communities.
“It is very important for children to have good health and good nutritious food because they will grow very fast and they will have a good life.
“Because they can go to school, they can go for higher education and they can live a good life.”