Wednesday March 16, 2016
Written by Phetphoxay Sengpaseuth, Vientiane Times
Children in poor families in Sisattanak district, Vientiane, are gradually receiving improved healthcare, nutrition and education, thanks to a programme that is working with selected primary schools.
Currently, about 20 percent of children in Sisattanak district do not attend school because their families are poor and they lack public support to obtain an education. But their circumstances have been improving since the Dongsavath Children and Youth Development Association (DCYDA) based in Dongsavath village was founded in 2008. The association is funded by overseas agencies.
The group works with four primary schools in Vientiane, namely Dongsavath Primary School, Donkoi School, Nahay School, and Udomphone School. A senior member of the association said the group’s aim is to ensure that poor children and adolescents have access to education and after school activities. They aim to provide a fun environment to discourage or avoid drug abuse and drop outs, and encourage children and young people to participate in helping their families and communities.
She said the association donated a small scholarship fund of 30 million kip a year to 35 children and young people in very difficult circumstances to cover educational materials and term fees. Their families are given emergency medical assistance and counselling. A programme of regular home visits provides social support and information for parents.
Speaking at the handover of the Dream Children’s Playground Garden at Dongsavath Primary School recently, DCYDA Head Mr Phonexay Inthaleuxay said the association was founded to help children develop their full potential and to protect them from harm. “We provide life-skills training and an annual summer camp. It is our aim to give children a feeling of security and being cared for. Knowledge is the first step towards this goal, to help poor children and young people to solve their problems and avoid drug abuse by providing after school activities. We run children’s development centres at four primary schools in the Vientiane area where children can gain life-skills, find advice, inform contact persons, or get any further assistance they need,” he said.
According to the DCYDA, the rural areas of Vientiane have suffered a great deal in terms of social problems including dropping out of school, drug abuse and neglected children. In urban settings, the negative impacts of “westernisation” have a greater effect on poorer families.