SOS Children's Village Xiengkhouang

Xiengkhouang was the third SOS Children's Village in Laos. It is situated at Ban Nam Ngam, one of the suburbs of Phonsavan town. This town is the capital of Xiengkhouang province in the Northeast of the country. During the civil war from 1964 to 1973, every town in this province was destroyed. In 1975, reconstruction efforts started. Nowadays, the inhabitants of this province live mainly on rice cultivation and cattle breeding. Phonsavan itself is a commercial centre.

SOS Children's Village Xiengkhouang is situated at a distance of about three kilometres from the town centre and about the same distance from Thong Hai Airport. It consists of twelve family homes, staff quarters and an administration and service area. There is an SOS Kindergarten with five classrooms, where up to 100 children from both the SOS Children's Village and the neighbourhood can be taught. Next to the SOS Children's Village, there is an SOS Hermann Gmeiner School, which provides primary and secondary education to up to 930 pupils. The school consists of 24 classrooms, laboratories, a library, a service and administration area, a canteen, a sickroom and workshops. It also has a football field.

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 2005, SOS Children's Villages launched its family strengthening programmes in Xiengkhouang. 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. Family strengthening programmes provide nutritional, educational and health support as well as vocational training, career counselling sessions and job placement support. Families are linked with existing self-help groups; if there is no group, a new one is formed. The programmes also aim at raising awareness of hygiene and child rights and improving people's parenting skills.