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Give hope, Give a future

     Her parents are both deceased and a hope for a better future diminishes. Her dream seems so far away as ever and she is afraid of what the future will hold for her. She wants a better life, she wants an education and most importantly she wants the feeling of having hope back. Ms. Keota Sithon is 13 yrs old who lost both her parents. Her mother passed away in 2008 and just recently approximately 6 months ago, she lost her father. Her life has been very difficult and she feels she is falling deeper into a hole with no one to help her.  
     MS. Keota was born on 15/4/2000 and is the youngest of the three.  She grew up in poverty and almost did not have a chance to attend school as her parents could not afford to send all of their children to school at the same time. Her parents sent her brother and sister to school while Ms. Keota stayed home. Her parents worked various jobs and more than 1 job at a time to save money for Ms. Keota. Her parents worked in tailoring and sewing clothes, labored jobs such as working in the rice paddy field and picking vegetables in the forests and dangerous jobs such as cutting grass. Ms. Keota finally got to go to school but attended school very late. It also helped that EDF-Lao was able to provide a scholarship to her brother. This relieved a financial burden on their parents; however now that both of the parents are deceased, Ms. Keota is unsure of her schooling once again. There is no one that will be able to help her.

     Ms. Keota lives with her older brother who is only 16 yrs old and together they are trying to help each other survive. They are barely teenagers. Her brother is currently in M2, lower secondary school, which is grade 7. They have no other family members besides their oldest sister who is 19 yrs old. Their oldest sister dropped out of M1, lower secondary school, which is grade 6 when their mother passed away. She had to find work to support her family. She was forced to leave the village as there is no work. She now works for a mining company and comes to see Ms. Keota and their brother once a month; she only stays for 5-7 days as she needs to return back to work. Her salary is approximately 1 million kip per month and with the 1 million kip, she pays for electricity and water bills along with a sack of rice. She also provides Ms. Keota and their brother about 50,000 kip per month for expenses such as food. What is left over, her sister will save that money for emergency, for example, for medical and health needs. The money for Ms. Keota and her brother is clearly not enough for the two of them. Their meals mainly consist of rice and salt or soy sauce. Food is scarce and at times their neighbors will help provide food, but this is only if the neighbors have food/meals for themselves.

     As for school, Ms. Keota’s brother will be able to finish his schooling as he is getting help from EDF-Lao however for Ms. Keota herself, their sister will not be able to pay for Ms. Keota to continue her schooling. After this year, she will have to drop out of school and cannot continue secondary school. She will repeat the cycle of dropping out of school like her sister did to work and care for the household. Ms. Keota had tears in her eyes and stated, “I want to finish my studies and hope to one day become a doctor.” She reported that both of her parents died of health issues and there were no doctors in her village. They were poor to receive health care anywhere else. This is why she wants to go to school and become a doctor. She wants to help her people. Her entire life has been a challenge--losing both of her parents at a young age, living in poverty, and having no money for food or clothes. (Ms. Keota owns 2 pairs of clothes and 1 pair of shoe). And now adding more to her challenges, she will not be able to go to secondary school next year because there is no one that will pay for it.  Ms. Keota needs someone to bring hope back to her and help her accomplish her dreams.

Survey data at Nakhoysao Primary School, dated: 13/04/2013

Collected by Keo  


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