Life in rural Laos

Laos relies heavily on agriculture. About 80% of the country's 6.1 million population live in rural and remote areas, with poor access to basic infrastructure and services.
An average of 41% of the rural population live in poverty, where geographic conditions restrict agricultural production and development.

Hope for the Future

Despite all the elements against them, the people of Ban Tha Pha are positive about their future.
They know that Buddha will ensure their village is protected from harm and things will get better.

Parched rice fields
The dry stumps of the previous crop are the only signs that this land was once fertile.
Villages like Ban Tha Pha never produce a harvest in the dry season, from November to May, as they have inadequate access to water and irrigation.

Farmers in rural Laos, like here in Khammouane province, often suffer food shortages.
Laos is one of the least developed countries in Asia, and most of its people make a living from the land.
Alina Paul, who helps her husband Jerome Bossuet manage an agricultural programme for Triangle Generation Humanitaire, tells of her work in rural development.

At the mercy of nature
The village chiefs often discuss the difficulties of nature's double-edged sword.
The rainy season from May to September is eagerly awaited.
But although it brings much needed water for the rice fields, the frequent flooding of the rivers often results in crops being destroyed.

War legacy
Rice workers have died due to unexploded bombs buried in the fields, from the secret war during the 70s when Laos was bombarded by the US.
The impact of the massive Nam Theun 2 dam project can be seen all around. Many of the villagers have only women, children and elderly working in the fields.

Only rice
Ban Tha Pha is one of many villages nestled at the base of the dramatic karst mountains of this region, where the dry season bears no harvest.
Rice is the main diet of the villagers and in times of food shortages, it is often the only thing eaten in short bursts throughout the day to stave off hunger.

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