Weaving her way to a brighter future

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Phin holding blanket

Phin, 16

It’s been more than five years since Phin, 16, has been in school but that doesn’t mean she’s not learning new skills each and every day.

Phin is the youngest of 9 girls in her village currently benefitting from Plan International’s vocational training programs in Laos.

As part of our work in her community, Phin is learning the ancient tradition of weaving, as well as how to establish her very own career.

“I would like to start up my own business, so I can take care of my family,” Phin tells us enthusiastically.

Changing lives with a thread and needle

Together with her younger brother and mother, Phin lives in a remote village in the mountains.

Until recently, their only income came from the family-owned rice field, which did not produce enough to cover the cost of school fees for Phin and her brother. In fact, more than 50% of children in Laos do not attend secondary school.

“This is the daily reality for many ethnic minority families,” explains Simone Keovised, a Plan International project coordinator in Laos, who adds that vocational training provides girls like Phin with alternative opportunities outside of school to continue learning and expand their skill set to generate an independent future for themselves and also help support their families.

“Weaving not only generates an extra source of income, the women are also keeping alive a century-old tradition and they share their way of living with other people. It’s a meeting point where they talk to each other and encourage each other,” she says.

And Phin agrees.

“The other women regularly give me advice during our weaving sessions,” she says.

Working together to uplift communities

Plan International has worked in Laos since 2007 to help children and families in some of the poorest districts access their rights to education, healthcare and livelihood.

We work together with communities and government education services to provide children with high quality learning and opportunities to gain essential skills that will help them break the cycle of poverty and build a sustainable future.

Phin couldn’t be happier. She is well on her way to leading change in her life.