Photo Credit: Room To Read
Vilayvone was sure she would never get into college. Her mother and father, a retired soldier, ran a small farm in a rural part of Laos to raise their seven children. Despite everyone waking before dawn to work on the farm, the family always lacked for food and money. “My siblings and I tried to find ways to continue our studies and reduce our parents’ burden,” said Vilayvone, who also sold lottery tickets in the evenings after school to bring in income.
She and her sister were able to attend secondary school thanks to Room to Read’s Girls’ Education Program, which provides girls with material support and life skills education to negotiate key life decisions. But after managing to send her brothers to college, followed by her father’s sudden illness, her parents couldn’t afford college for Vilayvone. “I would have to get a full scholarship,” said Vilayvone, “and with my average grades I assumed that was impossible.”
Then, as Vilayvone remembers it, Room to Read invited her on a trip that changed her life. Participants in our Girls’ Education Program tour Souphanouvong University. Most were unaware of the careers available to them with a college degree.
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