Why We Do What We Do
Imagine a home without running water or electricity. Imagine a child growing up completely deprived of proper nutrition. Imagine a child in need of medical attention, but having none or a child going to sleep in near freezing temperatures without a blanket. Imagine a child not being able to go to school because he or she must watch her little siblings. Or, if it's easier, just imagine children without choices.
According to UN's 2006 Human Development Index of 177 countries, Laos is ranked 133 of 177 countries. In stark contrast with its natural beauty, cultural traditions and unspoiled provenance, Laos is economically very poor and challenged with many standard of living issues we take for granted here in the States. This is highlighted in UNICEF'S Report - "The State of the World's Children 2006 - Excluded and Invisible," where:
- 26% of the population of Laos makes less than $1 a day, families in the villages where we work make as little as $0.15 a day
- 6.5% of children don't live beyond one year
- 8.5% of children don't live beyond five years
- 38% of children do not attend primary school, 50% do not attend secondary school
- 40% of children under 5 are moderately to severely underweight
- Less than 50% of children receive childhood immunizations
- 31% of the population is uneducated
- 86% of the rural population lack adequate sanitation facilities
In spite of these bleak realities, and with the direct assistance of Give Children A Choice, village parents come to realize the importance of their children's education.
We believe education is the key to eradicating poverty and providing the underprivileged with a better future. This belief serves as the foundation of Give Children A Choice's mission: "to build and fill preschools with children." There is indisputable evidence that preschool positively effects a child's social and emotional development, greater high school graduation rates, and university attendance. Simply stated a child who attends preschool has a much greater chance continuing with a higher education.
It is Give Children A Choice's plan to assist children in their most formative years by removing the obstacles that prevent them from attending school, giving them the materials and environment to learn and ultimately to provide them with choices later in life.
Help us provide children with this first step to a sustaining future and allowing them choices in life.
'The children are now walking around the village, singing and reciting what they have learned in school. I have not experienced this in my twenty years in Aine Savanh Village.'
Mr. Loung Chak
Village Leader, Aine Savanh Village