In 2015, Vone first joined a pre-primary school summer course that Plan International Laos and partners implemented. She looked quiet and shy and needed a lot of support from her teacher, Thong Nouthihom. “Vone was a happy girl, but she was a bit shy. I often involved her in planning activities and leading her friends to play games, sign songs, and prepare lunch,” says Thong.
It was fun to come to school, there were games that I could play with my friends, and there was a meal for us.
“I felt strange and had a question in mind – why did these children look different from the previous class? A few children looked shy, but were still able to communicate simple things in Lao language”, said Bounsy Pheusavanh, a primary school teacher. “I have no wonder at all when I knew these children got prepared in the summer course”.
Pheusavanh also believes that the summer lessons help ethnic children who don’t speak Lao to be able to understand and follow simple instructions. "I believe it also helps develop children's social skills. I always see children volunteer to help me. Vone always helps me lead reading, singing and playing games," he says.
“I communicate in Lao language with my friends when playing games together,” says Vone.
With the support from Plan International Australia, Plan International Laos and government partners have implemented the pre-primary school summer course in the rural, ethnic communities where there’s no access to pre-primary education since 2013.
In 2016, Plan International, the government and partner organisations Child Fund, Save the Children, and World Vision International adapted the pre-primary summer course and expanded it across the country.
Plan International Laos invests in early education for vulnerable, ethnic children and believes that closing the language gap betweenchildren and teachers will provide increased access to education as well as increasing the self-confidence of ethnic children.