Luang Prabang, a city located in north central Laos, consists of 58 adjacent villages, of which 33 are recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site. The city has a population of 60,000.
Luang Prabang is growing economically thanks to the interest of tourists in the city and its surroundings.
However, the city is still marked by poverty and widespread violence against children.
Since 2001, SOS Children’s Villages has been supporting children, young people and families and advocating for their rights in Luang Prabang.
With a poverty rate of 20%, many families and children of Luang Prabang are facing hardships. There has only been a small decrease in poverty in the last five years, which means one out of five people in the region is considered poor.
Children are most affected by poverty. Indeed, they do not get the same education opportunities as other children. To illustrate, only 73% of children aged 11 to 14 go to school in Luang Prabang.
Children are also most affected by food scarcity, with 41% of children in the province suffering from stunting, which is a measurement of low height for age. This is the result of recurrent undernutrition.
More than a third of women (34%) and men (35%) experienced some form of violence during childhood. More specifically, 1 in 7 women and 1 in 6 men experienced at least one form of physical violence before the age of 18. Around 22% of girls and 36% of boys experienced their first incident of sexual abuse when they were 13 years old or younger. These are only a few of the heartbreaking numbers reported in Laos.
One of the causes of this violence is sometimes attributed to the fact that 42% of adults in Laos believe that physical punishment is necessary to raise a child.