Hum Noy's story

Knowledge helps our children grow

Duangmala wishes for a bright future for her eight-year-old son Hum Noy, who is living with a disability. But faced with discrimination and limited learning opportunities, Duangmala feared he might never reach his full potential. Thankfully, a program supported by Caritas Australia has opened up a world of change for this small family.

I just want him to be able to communicate, talk and understand me... I want him to have friends."

Duangmala wished for a bright future for her eight-year-old son, Hum Noy, who has Down Syndrome. However, she feared he would remain isolated and never reach his full potential due to a lack of support services for children living with intellectual disabilities in Laos.

Thankfully, everything changed when Duangmala and Hum Noy were introduced to the Intellectual Disabilities Unit, which was set up by the Lao Disabled People’s Association with the support of Caritas Australia. This specialised school provides learning support and nurturing care to 50 children with intellectual disabilities in the Laos capital, Vientiane.

Since starting school, Hum Noy’s behaviour and abilities have changed remarkably. He is no longer isolated, lonely or frustrated, and his communication skills have advanced quickly. “Hum Noy is learning how to follow instructions and say the names of his teachers and friends,” says Duangmala proudly. “He likes to draw, play instruments, and when they do aerobics he joins in!”

Hum Noy and Duangmala

The program has also opened new opportunities for Duangmala, who received training to become a teacher at Hum Noy’s school. Now, she is hopeful that her son and his classmates can lead more prosperous, fulfilling lives. “It’s important to use our knowledge to help our children grow and develop,” she says. “We are lucky to have this program.”

I’m proud that my child has a chance to learn and that I am able to help other children through my work.” - Duangmala