LAOS: helping bridge the literacy gap.
Kham, a 65-year-old village leader from NaNgernvillage in Vientiane province, Laos, has been actively involved in improving literacy among children in his community. Despite the challenges of accessibility due to the village’s remote location and most residents being farmers, Khamhas been a driving force behind the USAIDsupported Learn to Read project implemented by Save the Children International in Laos, which began literacy activities at the local school in 2022.
“It is rare for some children to even have access to reading materials because most people here are farmers, and they earn a living by working hard on the farm which is far from the city. Moreover, our village is in the suburb, and there is only one school here. Therefore, the children have difficulty attending school.”Khamboy said. As the president of the student association and a sponsor of various activities, Khamboy has encouraged villagers to send their children to the Reading Group activity held every Saturday. He believes this initiative can bridge the literacy gap, especially for children in grades 1 and 2. His approach is inclusive, inviting all children to participate, regardless of their reading proficiency.
Kham expressed that “I was delighted whenLearn to Read, the first educational project in the village, started literacy activities at NaNgern school. I have been urging the villagers to send their children to the Reading Group activity every Saturday at school.”Khamboy’s leadership has resulted in 80% of the community bringing their children to the reading activities. The trained teachers ensure the activities remain engaging over time.The impact of the project is evident, with previously non-attending children returning to school and finding joy in reading. The positive reinforcement from teachers and parents has led to regular participation and improved reading skills among the children.
He also highlighted that “I want to share about children’s improvement after joining this activity that some of them, who has not attended, have come back, and joined the activities at school. With help of teachers and some parents, children found that reading is more fun than what they thought, and getting good feedback on their reading skills encouraged them to join the activity regularly.”Kham’s dedication to his community and the success of Learn to Read reflect his commitment to education and the well-being of the village’s youth.
Yee, a 7 year-old-boy, who loves books told us that “Books are my favorite, every weekend I joinReading Group at Vung Huean school with my friends for playing games and reading storybooks”. “This is the first time which I see a lot of books in my school. So, I’mvery happy to read them with my friends” shared by Soy.Sisua, expressed his gratitude, stating, “Thank you for giving us more books, my friends and I are sharing lessons and stories which we read every day”.
Funded by USAID, Save the Children International in Laos has joined force with Room to Read (RtR) and Humanity & Inclusion (HI) implementing Learn to Read project to improve reading skills of children in pre-primary, grade 1 and grade 2 in the target provinces, with particular attention to non-Lao-speaking children and children with disabilities. Learn to Read strengthens the Lao education system by providing high quality and inclusive supplemental storybooks and other teaching and learning materials, training teachers how to use these materials effectively in the classroom, and engaging families and communities to support their children to read outside of school.