SOS Children’s Villages ensures that children grow up with the care, protection and relationships they need to become their strongest selves (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Laos)

Laos, officially the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), is a landlocked country in Southeast Asia, with a population of 7.5 million. The country has a rich and diverse history, marked by revolutions and wars, and is the most bombed country in human history. Laos is also a very ethnically diverse country, with around 160 different ethnic groups. However, human rights violations remain a significant concern in the country. Laos is one of the countries with the lowest income in South East Asia. Children are unprotected from poverty but also from forced labour, child marriage, trafficking, violence and malnutrition.

SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children and young people without parental care, or at risk of losing it, in Laos since 1995.

Children are at risk

Around 60% of Laos’ total population consists of children and young people. These children and young people are most vulnerable to the challenges Laos faces today. They are also more vulnerable to child labour, child marriage, and child trafficking. Laos has been working on different growth initiatives to improve the lives of children, showing improvements in quality of education, health and protection services for children.
Of girls are married before the age of 18

Child marriage

Child marriage, when a child is married before the age of 18, is a violation of human rights, and the emotional damage a child suffers from a forced union is profound. In some places in Laos, children are married early. This is why the government of Laos is informing and preventing child marriages, but the numbers are nonetheless alarming: 33% of women were married before the age of 18. This is the highest percentage in South Asia.

Of children in Laos have to work

Children are exploited

Child labour, which is work in dangerous jobs or sectors, is a big risk to children in Laos. Indeed, 42% of children between 5 and 17 in Laos participate in child labour. Around 24% of those working children have never been to school, while 71% have dropped out. Poverty is the biggest cause of child labour, and working children are more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and trafficking. Indeed, trafficking is another major problem in Laos.

Of people in Laos live in poverty


Although poverty has decreased over the past decades, 23% of the total population of Laos still lives below the poverty line. Approximatively 80% of this population is employed in the agricultural sector. Sadly, poverty affects children the most, leaving them undernourished and taking away education opportunities. They are also more easily victims of child labour and child marriage.

Together we can make a difference for children in Laos

Can stay together
Learn at our kindergarten
Medical treatments
Were possible
Grow up in our care
Young people
Are supported on their way to independence
SOS Children’s Villages Laos supports families in the neighbouring community so that their children can live in better conditions. Bang and his family is one of the many families that SOS Children’s Villages Laos is helping. Bang can go to school in Samneua, and play Maklae, a traditional game, with his friends (photo: SOS Children’s Villages Laos).

Working together for sustainable development

In 2015, leaders from 193 countries committed to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This 15 year plan aims to improve the lives of people by ending poverty, fighting inequality and protecting the planet.
GOAL 1: End poverty
SOS Children’s Villages supports families and communities to keep families together and to help them break out of the cycle of poverty.
GOAL 4: Ensure quality education for all
Every child and young person SOS Children’s Villages supports has access to education, from kindergarten right up to vocational training or university.
GOAL 8: Equal job opportunities for all
SOS Children’s Villages supports young people in developing the skills and self-confidence they need to find decent work and trains parents so that they can have a stable income.
GOAL 10: Reduce inequalities
SOS Children’s Villages works to keep children safe, by promoting peaceful and inclusive communities. We provide training on children’s rights and positive parenting.
GOAL 16: Promote peaceful and inclusive societies
We advocate laws and practices that ensure social inclusion and protection for children and young people without parental care or from marginalized households.

Let’s keep on protecting children and young people!

Many children have been able to find a safe and secure home. With your help, we can continue to change their lives