Sponsor a child in Laos

SOS Nursery School Pakse LaosDespite gradual economic liberalisation, one quarter of the population of Laos continues to live in poverty. Most children face daily hardship. Half of those under fives are chronically malnourished, while over one in ten 5-14 year-olds are forced to work to survive. SOS Children has stepped up its efforts ever since beginning work in Laos in 1995.

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Sponsor a child in Laos

Poor infrastructure and a lack of basic services

Two thirds of the Lao population live in the countryside. Although infrastructure desperately needs improvement across the country, it is in rural parts where it is especially underdeveloped. While in urban areas, 72% of the population has access to safe drinking water, this figure stands at only half in the countryside. And in the city, most have access to improved sanitation - in the country, little over a third do.

A hard childhood

Most children face many hardships. As well as high infant malnutrition and widespread child labour, expenditure on education is one of the smallest in the world. Consequently, literacy rates are low, and despite efforts from the government to improve school enrolment rates, rural schools are poorly equipped and fewer children attend. Children growing up in the countryside also lack basic healthcare, and a badly developed road and rail network means links to the city are at times non-existent.

NBA Laos mapOur Work in Laos

SOS Children has worked in Laos since 1995. Because of slow economic development and the lack of adequate welfare provision, we have increased our involvement in recent years. We target support to the unique needs of specific areas, providing temporary care for malnourished children in Savannakhet, and offering vaccinations to people in the local community in Samneua.


We opened our first Children's Village in a rural area on the outskirts of the capital, Vientiane, near several primary schools. Despite benefiting from easy access to Thailand following the construction of the Friendship Bridge in the 1990s, Vientiane was badly hit by the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98. Changing social and economic conditions have left many young people without parental care, and children can often seen begging on the streets of the capital.

Much of our work in Vientiane focuses on filling the gaps left by Laos's inadequate welfare system. Schooling from nursery to secondary level ensure children are equipped to succeed in a competitive job market, while daycare for small children allows mothers to work. We also offer training to parents so they can improve their own job prospects or become better parents.

Sponsor a child Pakse, LaosPakse

A second Village in Pakse opened a few years later in1998. Pakse is the capital of Champasak province, a few hundred miles south of Vientiane. Poverty is concentrated in low-lying areas where inadequate drainage and waste collection mean conditions are dire. Flooding also poses a threat at this confluence of the Mekong and Se Don rivers, and children are at constant risk of waterborne diseases resulting from bad sanitation.

These problems mean that education and daycare are particularly valued by families who rely on our support. Nursery school allows parents the freedom to work for their children, and provides an invaluable introduction to education and play. An SOS school enables children to continue learning with us up to secondary level, providing a full education to children who would otherwise miss out on school altogether.


Our Village in Xiengkhouang is located in the north-east of Laos in Ban Nam Ngam, in the commercial centre of Phonsavan. The province (also called Xiengkhouang), is one of the most deprived and remote in the country. Children often suffer from malnutrition, and even when they do get enough to eat, are rarely fortunate enough to attend school. Unexploded landmines from the war in the 1970s continues to have a devastating effect on the lives of whole communities. Awareness is limited, and children are particularly vulnerable to injury or death.

One of our main focuses in Xiengkhouangis treatment for malnutrition. Undernourished children come into our care for ongoing therapy, and are offered a nutritious diet along with vitamin supplements and vaccinations to help them reach a healthy weight. When they return home, we keep in touch to ensure that they continue to thrive. As in our other Villages, we provide full schooling for many children for whom an education would otherwise be unattainable.

Luang Prabang

We opened a fourth Village in Luang Prabang, in 2001. The Village lies on the outskirts of the ancient capital of the former Laotian kingdom of Lan Xang - indeed, Luang Prabang was the capital of Laos until 1975. Once again, many children in this area suffer from malnutrition and cannot afford to go to school. Many families move to the city itself in the search for employment, but with most children speaking only their indigenous dialects, integration is hard. For those fortunate enough to attend school, catching up can be a big problem.

Our Village was built on land donated by the government, at a loss as to how to deal with ongoing deprivation. The site includes a paddy field and a pond, where local people can come to fish and harvest rice. Daycare and the freedom to work is yet again a vital service offered in Luang Prabang.

sponsor a child in LaosSamneua

A fifth SOS Children's Village was opened in Samneua in north-east Laos in April 2004. Located in another deprived province in which nearly half of all people are poor, our work here focuses on providing daycare and education for families who would otherwise lack these basic services.


Our sixth Village opened in Savannakhet in the south of the country in March 2008. Savannakhet is the second biggest city in Laos, and both province and city are developing to capitalise on trading opportunities arising from the city's close proximity to neighbouring Thailand and Vietnam. As across Laos, we are working here to provide essential services to families who need our help to give their children hope of a prosperous future.

Local contact

SOS Children Laos

POB 3503, Ban Sivilay

Muang Xayth.

Hom 02,

Km 6,

Kaysone Phomvihane Rd



Tel: +856/21/710 544

Fax:+856/21/710 163

e-mail: sosnolao@etllao.com