Inclusive Livelihoods – Laos

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Inclusive Livelihoods – Laos


Help people like Onchan, with the double disadvantage of poverty and disability, to overcome social isolation and discrimination, by supporting key initiatives to help build a more inclusive and equitable community.

Laos is one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia. A third of the population is currently living below the international poverty line (living on less than US$1.25 per day). Over two-thirds of the population live rurally and the poverty rate in rural areas is almost three times that of urban areas. In 2016, the country ranked 138th on the Human Development Index, indicating low-medium development. According to the Global Hunger Index (2015), Laos ranks as the 29th hungriest nation in the world out of the list of the 52 nations in hunger. Laos has a low life expectancy rate of 64 years for men and 67 years for women.


Adults and children with disabilities are amongst the most marginalised people in Laos, facing higher levels of poverty and other social inequalities due to multiple barriers faced in all aspects of their lives. National census data reports the number of people with disabilities as 2.8% of Laos’s total population, a much lower figure than international benchmarks would suggest (15%). There has been some level of commitment made by the government of Laos to mainstream disability into basic, core services, including; inclusive education, health insurance schemes and the poverty reduction programme. However, the government faces significant challenges in working towards that commitment, largely due to a lack of capacity and resourcing.


  • Supporting self-representation and advocacy of people with disabilities to advocate for their rights.
  • Building inclusive, resilient, equitable communities in selected districts of Luang Prabang.
  • Supporting the establishment of Self-help Groups (SHGs) to strengthen livelihoods.

Additional information


One-off, Every Week, Every 2 Weeks, Every 4 Weeks, Every Month, Quarterly, Annually


“You shall eat the fruit of the labour of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” – Psalm 128:2

Onchan is 62 and lives with his wife and their three sons, Yong (26) who has health challenges, Yu (21) and Bounmy (18) in Khoksavang, Luang Prabang Province.

Since the age of eleven he has had low vision in his left eye, when it was damaged by a bomb exploding. Despite his low vision, this has not held him back from what he wanted to achieve. Spending 22 years in the military then when retired, working as a mobile doctor and village volunteer.

At the beginning of 2021 Onchan’s village was one of the ten targeted for this community based inclusive development programme. Aiming to remove some of the barriers for people with disabilities and generally improving their day-to-day lives.

Onchan was chosen as leader for a self-help group of people with disabilities. Groups designed to provide support to each member and build self-confidence. The programme provided Onchan with training on topics such as the needs of people with disabilities, their rights, and improving their overall well-being. Agricultural training covered farming and caring for livestock/animal husbandry. Each time the group met, Onchan would share and discuss his newfound knowledge with the other group members. Helping them to improve their skills, gain confidence and become active members of the community.

Onchan now has a greater understanding of his own son’s disability and is able to support him more.
In September 2021 the programme provided 3 pigs to Onchan’s family. Caring for them using skills he has learnt from the agriculture training combined with his local knowledge. He is looking forward to watching the pigs eat well and grow quickly.

Additionally, he is raising fish under the pig pen, as they eat the leftover food and waste from the pigs. Generating further income and food for his family.

Besides raising the animals, Onchan has also worked in the fields, gardening and selling traditional medicine to supplement his family’s income. He is so very thankful for what he learnt from the programme, and how it continues to improve the life for him and his family.

Since this programme began, many people with disabilities have a greater understanding and awareness of their disability and their rights. They are becoming more involved in village community activities and discrimination from others is reducing.

It is exciting to see the initial positive outcomes of the programme. cbm is now pleased to extend the programme to another ten villages in more remote and mountainous areas, while continuing to support and develop the ten villages of the initial phase.