For women living in Bokeo Province, Laos, access to education and healthcare are limited, and women often deliver their babies at home. Skilled midwives are changing women's lives, as mothers can have assisted deliveries and young women can develop their careers as midwives.
Plan International Cambodia provided 25 high school students from Bokeo Providence with scholarships to study at the nursing college in the capital, Vientiane to address this issue.
After graduating from their 2 year courses, these women become qualified midwives and can return to their communities with the skills, knowledge and language to help marginalised women to give birth safely.
The skills they gain through this course provide these women with a career, an income and economic independence. They will also be able to share their knowledge within their communities. They have so far been employed in local health centres and hospitals.
Miti, 21, is determined to make a difference for women in her community having been awarded a scholarship by Plan International to become a trained midwife. In the town where she grew up accessing adequate medical care can be extremely difficult.
She is of Akha ethnicity and speaks a different language from the Lao majority and has a different culture. When women in her community give birth in health clinics, they may be unable to speak the same language as medical staff, so they prefer to avoid the long journey to the clinics and choose to give birth at home. As a result, there are high levels of maternal and infant mortality.
“I was so happy when I got accepted for the Plan International scholarship. This really changes my life”, Miti says. “As a midwife, I can help mothers and new born children from my community.”