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The Lao People's Democratic Republic, also known as Laos, is located in Southeast Asia. Laos shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
Although only 2.5 percent of Laotians are unemployed, 26 percent of people still live below the poverty line.
Laos is one of the world's most heavily bombed countries, with many areas still containing unexploded ordinances (UXO) that threaten the safety of farmers.
Millions of Laotians do not have a secure source of food, especially in rural areas. The World Food Program estimates that one out of two rural children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnourishment.
Laos has one of the highest infant mortality rates in Asia, with over 60 deaths for every 1,000 births.
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Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors. World Vision was able to work alongside communities to accomplish the following in 2012.
World Vision is committed to partnering with the people of Laos to improve their lives today and to help enact sustainable solutions for the future of their children, families, and communities. World Vision is working in six out the country's 18 provinces. Highlights include:
World Vision began work in Laos in 1969, but was forced to suspend relief and child sponsorship work at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975. World Vision resumed work in 1981, and opened an office there in 1991. Since then, some of World Vision’s major accomplishments have included:
Geography and people
The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, also known as Laos, is located in Southeast Asia. Laos shares its borders with Myanmar, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand.
One of the longest rivers in the world, the Mekong, forms much of the western border with Thailand and flows for nearly 1,000 miles through Laos. Mountains cover most of the terrain. The tropical monsoon climate has a rainy and a dry season.
Natural resources include timber, hydropower, gypsum, tin, gold, and gemstones.
The Lao people make up over half of the population, with over 100 other ethnic groups making up the rest of the population. Lao is the official language of the country; Laotians also speak French, English, and a variety of ethnic languages.
About 80 percent of Laotians work in agriculture. Some crops that they grow include sweet potatoes, vegetables, corn, coffee, and sugarcane.
Laotians value courtesy and respect; they try not to criticize an individual in front of others. They take a relaxed attitude towards life and enjoy each moment as it comes, despite the problems that they face. (Source: CultureGrams)
Laos gained independence from France around 1953. Conflict between Laos and the communist Pathet Lao group from North Vietnam during the 1960s ended in a coalition government.
The conflict between the United States and North Vietnam during the 1960s and early 1970s left Laos devastated by heavy bombing. In 1975, Pathet Lao invaded Laos and renamed the country the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
Laos’ government began a return to private enterprise and economic reform in the late 1980s. A new constitution in 1991 allowed for government elections, but the country has retained a mainly one-party government so far. Laos joined the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in 1997.