Nali’s family is a big family in her community. She has 2 brothers and 1 sister. Her older sister, Sivane, dropped out of school at grade 5 because her parents couldn’t afford to support all of their children's schooling at the same time. Sivane is married, and lives in the same house with her parents and siblings. Nali’s brothers go to secondary school nearby. “It is tough for my parents to support our schooling each year,” said Nali.
In rural areas of Laos, families are often bigger, meaning parents can be forced to choose which of their children receive schooling. “In the ethnic communities, parents are likely to support their son’s schooling rather than their daughter’s if they have to select one’s schooling”, said Ms. Kenexay, Nali’s teacher.
Plan International Laos provides scholarships for ethnic minority girls in Bokeo Province so they can complete primary school.
Nali is one of the girls who receives a scholarship. She says, "I was so happy to be selected for a scholarship which will help to reduce my parents’ expenditure and extend my school life.
“From that scholarship, my mother bought me new books, pens and a schoolbag. I’ve also got a school uniform, a sport uniform and shoes. I love them so much,” she says.
Moe, 10, says, “I only live with my mother. We don’t have any land to cultivate.” Moe’s father passed away when she was 6 and her mother struggles to make ends meet.
“Moe and her mother are poor. Last year, her mother took her away from school to work in the fields so they could buy food. I talked to her mother and I found out that they didn’t even have a place to sleep," said Kenexay, Moe’s teacher. "This amount of money is extremely useful for Moe."
“Thank you to my teacher and Plan International for supporting my schooling,” says Moe. “My mother spent that money on school materials, books, pens, a bag, my uniform and shoes.”