Christmas donation 2015 to SOS Children's Villages

This year it was an especially difficult task for managing director Christiane Riefler-Karpa to decide which of SOS Children's Villages’ projects should be supported by the traditional Christmas donation. In many parts of the world, children especially suffer too much.

People in need in other parts of the world tend to be pushed into the background by all the horrific scenarios shown on the news. Many people seem to forget about countries like Laos. The Asian one-party state can look back on prosperous times characterised by architecture, education and trade and has breathtaking cultural sites and landscapes.  However, due to the occupation by other countries and decades of civil war, the development of Laos was seriously set back in the 20th century. One third of the population makes a living on agriculture. Despite annual economic growth of around 8%, poor infrastructure, high illiteracy rates and serious shortcomings in healthcare and supplies of drinking water are the main reasons that Laos ranks 139th of 187 in the United Nations Human Development Index. Even today, minefields and unexploded bombs from the Vietnam War appear throughout the country.

The forgotten children of Laos

Millions of children suffer from poverty and hunger in this landlocked country that borders China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar. An estimated ten percent of them have to work to support their families. Therefore, Christiane Riefler-Karpa decided to support SOS Children's Villages in Laos with half of the Christmas donation in 2015. The other half goes into the general SOS donation pot.  In the capital Vientiane and in Pakse, SOS Children's Villages operates children's villages with traditional family houses, as well as institutions that allow young people to complete vocational training or to obtain a higher education qualification in a protected environment.  In addition to this, SOS Children's Villages founded one primary school and one secondary school in both cities, where almost 1,300 children and young people are being taught.

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