- Small, poor, Communist, landlocked country
- Buddha and temples, sanctuaries of peace and beauty
- Grievous past, focus on reviving cultural heritage
- Bright colours against a dusty backdrop
What hardships and losses has this woman suffered? During the Vietnam war the US bombed Laos with over 2 million tons of ordnance trying to destroy the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Approximately 80 million unexploded bomblets remained after the war and 25% of the villages in Laos are still contaminated with UXO (unexploded explosive ordnance). Death and injuries continue due to accidental explosions.
Is the girl in the doorway looking for signs of a better future? Are her hopes and dreams as delicate and fleeting as the mass of butterflies? Most Laotians live in rural areas, cut off from essential services. Less than half of the villages have schools that go past Grade 3 and many villages are without schools altogether. There is less opportunity for girls who stay at home to care for younger siblings, while boys continue to attend school.
Village Weaver Projects are a series of initiatives that create economic opportunities for artisans. Traditional silk woven pieces are favourite purchases for the growing number of tourists. Skills and knowledge have been passed from generation to generation and patterns/colours have a district character from region to region.