Providing an education for children with a disability in Laos

A highlight for Caritas Australia in 2010/11 was the commencement of programs in Laos. It has traditionally been difficult for international non-government organisations (NGOs) to work in Laos (or Lao People’s Democratic Republic). Caritas Australia has been able to implement programs in the country by forging valuable partnerships with organisations that have well-established relationships with the Laos Government. Through local partner, the Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA), we have initiated a program aimed at helping children with disabilities.

A school for disabled children in Laos

About the program

The LDPA program aims to support around 50 children with an intellectual disability attend a volunteer run school. The program also runs a series of workshops for parents and teachers of children with disability, led by specially-trained experts.

The program aims to:

  • Build the capacity of families and teachers to more effectively care for, educate and lobby on behalf of children with disability
  • Work with parents and teachers towards providing consistency in areas such as behavioural management, teaching methods and social inclusion to assist the development of children with a disability
  • Develop opportunities for schools and families to build a network for mutual support.

Little is known about intellectual disability in Laos. In 2010 the government began implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability. This program is well-placed to build on a growing awareness of disability issues in the country.

Though the program is in its early stages, children, parents and teachers involved have already shown great interest and commitment.

This is the first program of its kind in Laos. Currently limited to the Vientiane Province of Laos, the program has the potential to expand to other provinces through LDPA’s wide network of disabled people’s organisations and its connections with government.

Program details

  • Issues: Disability; Education
  • Partner Agency: Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA)
  • Funding in 2014/15 financial year: AU $60,000
  • Geographic location: Vientiane City and Vientiane Province
  • When established: 2010/11