Tag Archives: children

Doing, Doing, Done: Can-Do Cycle Team Dai Rides On Against Odds For HOPE Children’s Charity

Cyclist Charity Team Dai on a Mountaintop!

Laos-based international cyclist charity Team Dai including keen cyclist Ms Thu Ng from Vietnam tackle multiple challenges, raise confidence levels and much-needed funds, seeking to surpass the USD15,000 donation mark for disadvantaged children’s Hope Centre. 

Thinking of cycling, in some parts of the world, and lycra-clad road warriors and their aspirants will come to mind.

In others, perhaps a leisurely cruise down a local bike path or in a park, perhaps by a lake or riverside.

Elsewhere, this is not quite the case. In the case of developing countries like Laos, cycling is often seen as hot, old fashioned, disadvantageous and even highly dangerous.

Road safety is also a malleable concept. Drink driving too often prevails, peaking during festive seasons.

You could say being a cyclist in Laos is generally no “ride in the park”.

In fact, it can be an activity that best suits the determined.

The fairly flat Vientiane plain notwithstanding, Laos is certainly a majority mountainous country.

The quality of roads can leave a great deal wanting. Its a fact that surfacing on many a Lao thoroughfare is often in a more rustic condition than you see at the neighbors. Add a very warm, tropical climate and variable air quality as issues that impact.

 

It is also a developing nation where most folks aspire to motor vehicle ownership, cycling does not convey the status it does in more developed nations.

Cycling them puts you in close contact with all the vehicles, large and small, controlled by drivers of all levels of skill, experience, and temperament.

So why would a woman cycle?

It’s a question keen rider Ms Thu Ng knows better than most.

Growing up in neighboring Vietnam before making a home with her husband from Laos, she has been living in the capital Vientiane for some years.

"This year's Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members." Thu Ng, cyclist

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” Ms Thu Ng

She comes up against reflexively scornful attitudes toward the humble bicycle and cyclists both on the streets and at home.
It’s positive health and social impacts are less understood.

Cycling can be seen as a dangerous activity and certainly not one for a woman, particularly wife or mother, to be engaged in.

Ms Thu Ng tackled her fourth Team Dai Challenge for charity raising some US$14,630 to date for the HOPE Center’s work.

She shared her thoughts on the ride from her perspective as a keen cyclist and woman.

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth and for me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” 

“In the Asian culture in which I grew up, I normally get told that women should stay home and not risk their lives.

“This mindset makes it hard for us women to engage in what is seen as extreme sports or exercise.”

“But I am a real optimist and believe that the best part of life is having the freedom to do whatever you are passionate about.

“This is happiness and this is all about life.”

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Similarly, she was drawn to the engaging aspect of making a contribution to the society of the country she calls home.

“It has been said that giving is a simple solution towards some of the world’s most complicated problems. 

“So every year, we volunteer our time and efforts to carry out Team Dai’s mission of raising funds to help our community.

“For me personally, the ability to give support and spread love is the very best part of every Team Dai challenge.”

Team Dai Cyclist Charity Efforts Fund HOPE

The recipient of this affection in 2019 is the HOPE Centre, a community outreach program launched by ARDA Language Centre Vientiane in 2006.

HOPE Centre helps over 200 children and youth who are at risk of abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking.

The center aims to serve the most vulnerable children and youth in the community to see them grow and develop in a healthy way and give them new hope for the future.

It does so by providing a safe environment where children begging on the streets, those living in slum communities and working could stop in during the day to bathe, receive medical care, a nutritious meal, general education and be involved in other activities including arts & crafts, music, sports and participate in special events.

Staff work alongside families living in poor communities to alleviate child labor and exploitation by helping them improve their livelihoods, parenting skills, and living conditions so that their children will have a suitable place to live and attend school.

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Trauma counseling, educational therapy, and social skills development to child victims of abuse and exploitation help them address past experiences and move forward to lead productive lives.

Scholarships are also provided to help deter children from begging or being forced into other forms of child labor while providing enhanced educational opportunities.

Meanwhile, sporting activities including soccer and volleyball are used to divert children and youth from being drawn into a downward spiral including drug abuse.

Team Dai Cyclist Members in Luang Prabang

Team Dai Cyclists in Luang Prabang

Located at ARDA Language Centre in Vientiane, HOPE Centre welcomes every child, particularly the poor and vulnerable, a worthy cause Team Dai are proud to support.

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates Calf-Building Charity Efforts

Reduction in Underweight, Stunted Children Falls Short of Targets

Reducing the numbers of underweight and stunted children has fallen short of the targets set, despite the efforts undertaken to pursue the targeted plan, a recent government report has showed.

The number of underweight children less than five years of age has fallen to 25.5 percent of the total children nationwide, which failed to meet the targeted plan of 22 percent as approved by the National Assembly (NA). The findings were detailed in a report on the implementation of the socio-economic development plan over the first 10 months of the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Presenting the report to the recent NA ordinary session, Minister of Planning and Investment, Dr Souphanh Keomixay told the parliament that efforts to reduce stunted children also fell short of the target.

Stunted children under five years of age (children who suffered chronic malnutrition) represented 35.6 percent, failing to meet the target of 34 percent as approved by the NA.

In an effort to reduce number of underweight and stunted children further, the government has set a target to reduce underweight children aged under five years from the current 25.5 percent to 22 percent by 2017.

A target has also been set to reduce the number of stunted children under five years of age (children who suffered chronic malnutrition) from the current 35.6 percent to 35 percent.

In addition, poverty reduction has also progressed at a slower pace but the government will strive to reduce the number of poor families from 6.56 percent in 2016 down to 6.09 percent by 2017.

There are several reasons contributing to slower poverty alleviation including the fact that most of the remaining poor families are located in remote hardship areas making it hard to introduce poverty-fighting programmes.

Meanwhile, Lao gross domestic product (GDP) registered smaller growth of only 6.9 percent in the 2015-2016 fiscal year, which was lower than the 7.5 percent recorded in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

Laos appears set to register lower growth in the coming years as it has revised annual average GDP growth from the previous 7.5 percent to 7.2 percent over the next four years until 2020.

However, the government has made sound progress in a number of areas, notably in the social and cultural aspects, according to Dr Souphanh.

The healthcare service network has been improved and expanded. The number of people accessing clean water has reached as high as 89.2 percent of the total population, exceeding the plan of only 85 percent as approved by the NA.

Primary school enrolment has increased from 97.2 percent to 97.9 percent, while the dropout rate in primary schools has declined from 5.2 percent to 4.9 percent.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Ministry, Partners Seek to Ensure all Children Finish Primary School

The main challenge facing the government and its development partners is the need to ensure that many more children complete primary school.

The Ministry of Education and Sports has set new nationwide enrolment targets. An enrolment rate of 51 percent is the new target for the 3-5 age group, while for lower secondary schools the target is an enrolment rate of 85 percent, up from 82 percent, within 2017 or beyond.

The figures were quoted during discussions at the ongoing National Assembly Ordinary Session.

Currently 82 percent of all children attending primary school in Laos complete their studies, an increase from 79 percent last year. The ministry’s aim is to raise this figure to 98 percent by the end of 2020 as one of the targets set under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

To achieve this target, the ministry called on state and private school administrators and education officials around the country to step up efforts to address the challenges facing the sector.

Figures show that only about two-thirds of children nationwide complete their primary education, with those coming from remote villages in the most educationally disadvantaged districts facing the greatest hurdles.

A ministry official, experts and researchers told Vientiane Times this week there is an urgent need to tackle issues such as poor school conditions, overcrowding, drug abuse and literacy rates, and the high dropout rate.

Making sure that children are able to stay in school and complete the full five grades of primary school remains a major challenge, they said.

While education has seen significant progress in recent years, greater efforts are essential to break through the barriers that still prevent many children, especially rural girls, from entering and staying in school, they noted.

Making sure that everyone benefits from a good education is critical to unleashing the country’s human resource potential and ensuring that Laos graduates from Least Developed Country status by 2020.

The ministry reported that national primary school enrolment rates have risen to 95.2 percent, up from 94.1 percent in the 2011-12 academic year. The gap between male and female enrolment has also narrowed, from 7 percent to 2 percent.

High levels of malnutrition in early childhood linked to rural poverty also represent a particular cause for concern, as hunger impairs brain development and diminishes children’s ability to learn.

Expansion of primary and secondary education, and improvements in literacy rates, especially for women, are also high priorities.

Source: Vientiane Times

Child Fund Australia Supports Children in Xieng Khuang

Child Fund Australia has provided more than US$1.1 million to support development outcomes relating to health, education, water, sanitation and nutrition for children in Khoun district, Xieng Khuang province.

Funds will also go to support the continued need for improvements in education access and quality, targeting the poorest in the target district’s nine villages.

The representative office of Child Fund Australia, Child Fund Laos, will work in partnership with the Rural Development and Poverty Eradication office in Xieng Khuang province to begin a new project named Community Development for the Well-Being of Children in Khoun district.

The project will work to reduce poverty through addressing development gaps, building capacities, and taking a multi-sector, holistic development approach.

Reaching some of the poorer areas within Khoun district, the project will be implemented by the communities themselves within nine villages with extensive consultation with district and provincial authorities. It is expected to run for four years, with an end date of September 2020.

The main purpose of the project is to ensure that partner communities are able to sustain project activities and to reduce their reliance on external inputs while increasing their resilience in daily life.

The project will be implemented with close community oversight and participation so that community members have the chance to work alongside local authorities, partners and Child Fund Laos staff to strengthen their capacity in identifying, planning and managing their own activities in the future.

Management of project activities will be handed over, with close monitoring and support to district and village representatives in partner villages that reach a 12-year partnership term with Child Fund Laos.

All Community Development for the Well-Being of Children in Khoun District activities are in line with the 5th National Socio-Economic Development Plan, Laos’ Sustainable Development Goals commitments, Laos’ least developed country graduation targets for 2020 and existing district development priorities.

Activities will focus on sustainable community development through an integrated development approach focusing on improving the lives of children.

Child Fund Laos will start to implement the project in Khoun district after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Friday, inked by Programme Manager of Child Fund Laos, Dr Emelita Santos Goddard and Director General of the Xieng Khuang provincial Rural Development and Poverty Eradication office, Mr. Yong Tia Lor.

Australia’s Ambassador to Laos John Williams and Deputy Governor of Xieng Khuang province, Mr. Khamsane Manivong, were witnesses at the ceremony.

According to Child Fund Laos, it is anticipated that the project will have more impact in Khoun district, particularly in reaching poorer areas, a key priority of the district’s socio-economic development plan. This is also a focus of the Child Fund Australia Laos country strategic plan.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Association Extends Support to Children with Disabilities

The Aid for Children with Disabilities Association (ACDA) is still in need of support from businesses or individuals in Laos, as part of its ongoing support for disabled children.

Korea to Provide Surgery for Lao Children

The Ministry of Health and Welfare of the Republic of Korea is providing free surgery for four Lao children who have congenital malformations of the legs or arms through the Medical Korea charity programme.

Lao Children Continue to Face Chronic Malnutrition

Laos continues to face a significant development challenge in reducing the high levels of malnutrition that prevail across the country.

Television Show Provides Fun, Education for Children

Children between 3-6 years old can now learn fundamental developmental skills such as physical, mental, social and mood development,