Room to Read India's Literacy Program is the country's only children’s education program that develops both literacy skills and reading habits. Our Girls’ Education Program supports girls to finish secondary school and works with government stakeholders to advocate for girls' education.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

The Challenge in Laos

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic has seen much political upheaval in its recent history, which has left its people impoverished and lacking access to many modern advancements. Despite recent government attempts to attract foreign investment, the majority of Lao people live on less than $2 per day, and the country is one of the least developed in the world. Despite its dramatic mountain ranges and unspoiled tropical forests, little land in Laos is arable and only 5% is used for the subsistence farming that employs 78.5% of the population. There is little access to electricity or clean water for people in major rural areas.

Our Work in Laos

Room to Read operates in government schools within Salavan, Savannakhet, Vientiane, Xayabouly and Oudomxay to help the government address obstacles and improve educational opportunities for children. Room to Read Laos established the most school libraries of any organization in Laos’ government schools, and our local language children’s books have been recognized for their high quality and cultural relevance for Lao children. These books have proven crucial in developing a habit of reading in the country.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Inequality and Cultural Schisms Pose Barriers to Education

With half of the population of Laos below 18 years of age, the educational system is in urgent need of improvement. Inequality based on ethnicity, gender and wealth prevents many children from receiving equal access to education. And while the Lao Language has been the national language of instruction since the 1950s, many in Laos’ 49 ethnic groups do not speak it. This rift, paired with deep-rooted, class-based inequalities in educational access, poses a serious challenge to many Lao children.

Lack of Resources Hinder Students

Although primary and secondary school are free and literacy rates are rising, students struggle to stay in school, especially those from vulnerable populations. Many schools lack appropriate reading materials, and have poor quality classrooms and limited trainings for teachers. Attending class is even more challenging for rural students, who must often walk long distances to reach the nearest school. Girls also face pressures to marry early or help with household duties, especially in poor families. These barriers have left Lao women with a literacy rate 17 percent lower than their male counterparts.

 

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Support Our Work

Influencing National Literacy Textbooks

Room to Read Laos has had great success improving primary school students’ literacy skills. Our students can read three and a half times more words per minute than peers in non-program government schools by the end of grade 2. Laos has noticed this impact, and in 2015 through cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Sports, Room to Read Laos was invited to pilot redesign the existing national Lao language grade 1 and 2 textbooks, based on the government competencies curriculum, with our textbooks in 46 schools in the district of Savannakhet. We are closely monitoring the results of this pilot; if successful it can feed the development of new national textbooks during the 2016 – 17 academic year, potentially impacting millions of children across the country.

Laotian Girls’ See Out into the Larger World

Many of the girls in our Laotian program come from low-income families in rural villages where only a few professions exist. To prevent girls from feeling limited to just the options they see at home, our social mobilizers in Laos help inform girls about further educational or career paths that exist outside of their communities. We reach this goal, in part, by visiting universities and businesses where girls can meet female professionals and ask questions of those who have taken this path.

 

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved. Join Our Team

Room to Read Laos
Ban Vatnak, Sisattanak District
Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR

Phone: +856-21-485096

More local information coming soon!

Join the Conversation: Laos

Souphy's Story

Equalizing education for girls in Laos.

Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved.
Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

3.5x

Second grade students in Literacy Program schools in Laos read 3.5 times as fast as students in nearby control schools.

3.5x

Second grade students in Literacy Program schools in Laos read 3.5 times as fast as students in nearby control schools.

99%

Of the 414 program participants who were required to take a “gatekeeping exam” in 2015, all but four passed and advanced to the next grade.

99%

Of the 414 program participants who were required to take a “gatekeeping exam” in 2015, all but four passed and advanced to the next grade.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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Room to Read is a leading nonprofit for children's literacy & girls' education programs at work in Laos. Learn more, donate, or get involved.

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