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Reaching children left behind

Children living with a disability are among the most marginalised members of their communities. The story of one girl in Laos highlights the need for an inclusive and quality education system, particularly in poor, remote villages, to help transform children’s lives.

By Rita Mu

Like many eight-year-old children, Noy (pictured above) loves to play with her friends.

Sometimes Noy and her friends will play together in their village, other times they will go out to the fields and gather vegetables.

When Noy sees her friends do something or go somewhere, she often wants to do the same or follow them.

When her friends go to school, however, she cannot join them.


Noy was born unable to speak and has an intellectual disability.
She lives in a poor, remote community in eastern Laos, where the majority of families here, including Noy’s, are of the Phong ethnic minority group and rely on farming activities for a living.
Noy is the oldest of three children. She has two younger brothers, aged six and four.
However, unlike her six-year-old brother, who is in preschool, Noy has never attended school.
She cannot read and write.
During the day, while her brother and friends go to school, Noy usually accompanies her mother, Lew, to work on the farm.
Noy longs to join her brother and friends at school.

“When Noy sees her friends going to school, or dancing or exercising, she wants to do the same,” Lew says.

The teachers in Noy’s village, however, have not had the training, experience or resources to properly care for and support Noy.

On school days, Noy will sometimes visit her friends at school during their lunch break to play with them.

Noy wants to go to school, but without adequate support her opportunities are limited.

For children with a disability living in poverty, like Noy, the future is bleak without access to a safe, inclusive and quality education.

When children like Noy have the right tools, resources and support, they have a greater chance of reaching their full potential, and changing their future, and the future of their families and communities.

How you can help

Your support can ensure children living with a disability can access a safe, inclusive and quality education so they can have a brighter future.

Donate now

Change is needed at both systemic and community levels to ensure that children with a disability have access to safe, inclusive and quality learning environments at school.

ChildFund is implementing education projects at both systemic and community levels.

In the community we are helping to provide families and schools with the support they need. This includes:

• engaging family members on how to support their child’s learning;

• establishing support groups and visits for families;

• helping to identify children with a disability and assisting families to access services;

• equipping teachers with the knowledge to provide tailored lessons for children living with disability, and foster learning environments where all students are respected and included;

• helping school leaders to develop inclusive education plans; and

• developing and providing disability inclusive educational resources.

ChildFund in Laos is also organising village festivals to raise awareness of the rights of children living with disability.

At a systemic level, ChildFund is working closely with local partners, including village chiefs and local and national governments, to implement inclusive education policies and laws, and overall reduce the stigma and discrimination towards children with a disability.

Your support is needed to ensure we can continue this important work, which will help empower vulnerable children like Noy.

Please donate now

Noy’s mother, Lew, wants Noy to have a brighter future.
“I want Noy to be able to speak, read and write Lao,” she says.

You can help children like Noy access a safe, inclusive and quality education so they can have a brighter future.

Please donate now