Greatest Needs: Preventing Children From Living on the Streets in Laos

Laos-large Every six months, Give2Asia features several projects that require immediate funding in their Greatest Needs catalogue.  These projects have been vetted by Give2Asia and then broken into scalabe sizes for donors to invest in.  The purpose is to showcase needs in the region, highlight the work that local, on the ground, organizations are doing and then provide a mechanism for those that choose to act. 

Partner: Friends-International  (Peuan Mit in Laotian)

Cost: $55,000 gives 1,000 children access to education, health care, and family services that protect them from living on the streets.

The Challenge.  On any given day an estimated 600 children live and work on the streets of Vientiane. Street children survive primarily by scavenging, begging and sex work. These children are often deprived of an education because of pressure to earn an income for their survival and, in some cases, the survival of their families. Children living on the street are highly susceptible to substance abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS and human trafficking.

The Goal.  To create lasting social change by ensuring access to education for children and youth at risk of entering street life. To sustain this change through holistic support services for their families.

The Solution.  This project provides at-risk children and youth access to education, helping young people achieve their potential. The project will also strengthen the financial situation of at-risk families, placing a particular emphasis on female-headed households as a means of reducing incidences of child labor; Families with a reliable income are in a better position to meet the needs of their children, including supporting their educational endeavors.

Educating Street Children: The project will provide education for 1,000 children and youth at risk of living on the streets. Friends will provide bridging courses and other preparatory support to help children resume (or begin) their education through the public school system. Once reintegrated into a public school, students will continue to receive support, including academic tuition, to ensure their transition into school has been successful.

Health Care & Counseling: The project will provide health care, life-skills education (information regarding HIV/AIDS, drugs, reproductive health, safe migration, nutrition and hygiene) and counseling to children/youth and their families at risk of entering street life.

Sports Outreach: The project will organize weekly sports competitions in poor communities as a strategy for making contact with hard-to-reach, at-risk youth. The events will be designed to build trust and provide young people with mentorship, services and information.

Job Training for Parents: The project will create employment opportunities for parents of 30 at-risk children with job training aimed at helping them achieve sufficient income to support their families and keep their children off the street.

About Friends-International
Since 1994, Friends-International has been working with marginalized children and youth to collectively develop progressive and strategic programs which meet their complex needs. In Asia Friends is working in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and Hong Kong. Friends is in contact with approximately 500,000 young people per year, through a range of comprehensive services as part of its holistic approach to assisting children and their families to improve their lives.