The province of Houa Phanh, which borders Vietnam, is one of the poorest of the country. Per capita income of the province's 300,000 inhabitants is about one third of that of the whole country. In many places, one can still see the destruction caused by decades of war with France and the U.S. Due to a lack of government resources, there are hardly any facilities for the support of children in need, with the exception of one residential school for ethnic minority children.
The SOS Children's Village in the province capital of Samneua is the fifth one in the country. It consists of twelve family homes, a house for the SOS aunts (family helpers who support the SOS mothers), a community house and the necessary administrative buildings.
There is an SOS Kindergarten with four classrooms, a multi-purpose hall and a playground for up to 100 children from the SOS Children's Village as well as from the local community. By looking after their children during the day, SOS Children's Villages enables local mothers to work full time and to earn some money for their families.
An SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary and Secondary School with a capacity of 300 pupils was opened in January 2006. This school has 12 classrooms, a library and an administration area.
In 2010, an SOS Youth Facility was opened. Older boys from the SOS Children's Village normally move to the SOS Youth Facility when they start a vocational training course or go on to higher education. With the support of qualified youth workers, they develop realistic perspectives for their future, learn to shoulder responsibility and increasingly make their own decisions. They are encouraged to develop team spirit and build up contacts with relatives and friends, as well as with the relevant authorities and potential employers.
In 2002, SOS Children's Villages Laos launched its family strengthening programmes. These programmes are intended to support families at risk of abandoning their children and to encourage families to stay together. SOS Children's Villages therefore works with local authorities and other service providers to support families and enable them to take good care of their children.
In Samneua, the family strengthening programme focuses on primary health care and sanitation for people of all ages from the neighbourhood of the SOS Children's Village. A room of the SOS Kindergarten building has been set apart for the family strengthening programme. In addition to that, two family homes of the SOS Children's Village are used for temporary accommodation of malnourished local children.