Sticky rice and sunrises
Like she does every morning, Vai wakes up at 5am, just before the sun appears from behind the lush, green mountains that surround her village. She climbs down the stairs of her one-room bamboo hut which she lives in with her parents and siblings. Just outside the house she fetches some fresh water from the tap-operated supply. Her family uses it for drinking, washing their hands and cooking rice. Conscious of the time, she moves quickly, getting everything ready before her parents go off to work in the rice field and she goes to school. She’s careful not to carry too much water, so it doesn’t hurt her shoulders and she can carry it back inside to soak the rice. Once soaked, she piles the rice into a steamer on a small fire. Flumes of steam pour out of the steamer, a stunning image for anyone new to the morning ritual – for Vai, it’s just a usual morning. She turns around and says, “my mother taught me how to make sticky rice. She is very good at it.” Her mother, sitting in the corner, watching, proudly nods her head.
Sponsorship means a world of difference for Vai. She receives letters from France, a powerful connection to a world outside her own. But sponsorship means so much more than correspondence by letter. Thanks to the support of sponsors of her community, she is learning about hygiene at school – things like washing her hands properly before and after eating food; brushing her teeth and washing her face. She has been given materials to help her learn like pens, a school bag, and a water bottle which she can fill up before class. She’s even learnt a song about hygiene, which she loves so much she’s written it out on a big piece of paper and stuck it up on her wall at home. She sings it with a beautiful and quiet voice that fills the room. The sun has finally risen, painting pink and purple streaks across the sky. Vai is ready for school.
“I always visit the toilet, wash my hands with soap, wash my clothes, take a bath, brush my teeth, wash my hair, clean my house, and wash dishes and keep the environment clean.”
The power of sponsorship
Children sponsored in Vai’s village receive letters from their sponsors all over the world. Because of their support, all children and their families benefit from projects that improve quality of education, water and sanitation. You can sponsor a child in Laos, or in many other countries, and help entire communities lift themselves out of poverty.
Vai knows she needs to focus on schoolwork to achieve her dreams. “I want to be a teacher,” she says. She would like to teach other students the hygiene song and help her community.
Want to help entire communities, and have a powerful connection with a child like Vai? Sign up to be a sponsor today.