Ambassador of United States Delivers Textbooks to Lao Schools, Bolstering Education Efforts

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United States Ambassador to Laos, Heather R. Variava, and Lao schoolchildren. (Photo: US Embassy)

Children across the country are set to further improve their learning abilities through the continuous support of the “Learn to Read” project. Spearheaded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), this project marks a crucial step in fortifying educational resources for young learners in Laos.

On 29 February, United States Ambassador to Laos Heather R. Variava presented Grade 1 and Grade 2 textbooks at Huay SaNgao Primary School in Vang Vieng District, Vientiane Province. 

The event, attended by more than 100 individuals, inaugurated a nationwide textbook delivery initiative aimed at enriching classroom instruction, facilitating teacher training, and engaging communities.

The donation for the “Learn to Read” project encompasses more than 700,000 copies of Grade 1 and Grade 2 Lao language textbooks, along with Grade 2 Science textbooks, and 122,000 teacher guides and storybooks. 

Deputy Minister of Education and Sports, Sisouk Vongvichit, expressed gratitude for the ongoing partnership with the United States and USAID, emphasizing the significance of improving reading outcomes for Lao children. 

“Children today will play an important role in the future of Laos. Helping them learn to read ensures their success in school and in life,” said Sisouk.

Speaking at the event, Ambassador Variava also recognized the deepening partnership between the United States and Laos, particularly in the field of education.

“Today’s handover reaffirms our commitment and shared goal, under the U.S.-Laos Comprehensive Partnership, to improve reading outcomes and basic education for all children in Laos, and to promote inclusive education,” she said.

The “Learn to Read” program, a USD 30 million initiative spanning from 2018 to 2025, is implemented by Save the Children, Room to Read, and Humanity & Inclusion. 

Over the past five years, the program has supported public schools across 16 target districts in  Attapeu, Champasak, Xieng Khouang, and Vientiane provinces, providing inclusive teaching and learning materials to over 61,000 students in 921 schools. With a focus on accessibility, the project has also made many books available in video format with sign language and voiceover for children with hearing and vision impairments. 

Looking ahead, over the next two years, the “Learn to Read” program aims to distribute textbooks directly to 285,000 students across all 17 provinces of Laos and Vientiane Capital, further advancing educational opportunities in the country.