Laos and Its People
Often referred to as a forgotten country, Laos is made up of stunning landscapes full of natural charms, mountainous terrains, and myriad of rivers and streams. As a small landlocked nation located in the heart of Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia, and with 160 ethnic groups speaking a total of 83 distinct living languages, Laos is a true reflection of its geographic location – the crossroads of Asia.
Why Laos and Its People Need Your Help
Unlike its neighboring countries (China, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia), Laos is a small landlocked nation that doesn't get much press. Few people have heard of Laos. Even fewer knew Laos is one of the most war-torn, the poorest and hungriest countries in the world.
Did you know that Laos is the most heavily bombed country per capita in history? During the Vietnam War the U.S. conducted a Secret War on Laos. For 9 years, 24 hours a day, a planeload of bombs was dropped on Laos every 8 minutes. This carpet-bombing left scars that continue to traumatize Laos and its people; one-third of the country is still contaminated by unexploded American ordnance, and hundreds of people lose limbs every year to cluster bombs.
Since gaining independence in 1975, the government of Laos has been working to heal the country from the wounds of war, and improve living conditions for all Lao people. For the past 20 years, Laos has been steadily moving away from a centrally-planned system towards a market-oriented economy. Although this shift has led to welcoming progress in key social and economic indicators, many challenges still remain to be tackled.
Considered as one of the poorest and hungriest countries in the world, much of the country and its people depend heavily on foreign aid. More than three quarters of the entire population live in remote rural areas that lack infrastructure and social service system. Agriculture and natural resources are key for survival for these people. Unfortunately, serious issues regarding deforestation, forest degradation, aquatic resource degradation and loss of biodiversity have started to take place in recent years.
To make matters worse, all of these challenges are exacerbated by the fact that Laos is very vulnerable to disasters such as weather events like typhoons, flooding and droughts; rodent and pest attacks; and animal disease epidemics. What this means is: people living in remote rural villages are chronically exposed to not having enough - if at all - foods to eat.
The Sustainable Development, Forest Gardening, and Forest Protection projects run by LaosTTFF are part of our efforts in helping the country to achieve its goal to make Laos “a prosperous country, with a healthy population, free from food insecurity, malnutrition and poverty”.