The future

The future

Community Learning International and its staff have committed themselves for the long haul, not just to adopt a ‘get in get out’ approach and have a go at meeting the charming ‘Millennium Development Goals’, but to endure, and guide efforts when and as needed.

Over the past 16 years CLI has grown substantially, and now has the appropriate infrastructure in place to incorporate and provide a viable health program to reach rural villages.

Why health? Not only because it is a basic human right, but the ability to effectively tackle and prevent common and potentially life-threatening ailments has a direct and positive impact on children’s school retention rates, and thereby helping to end poverty sooner.

Health

We are exploring how CLI can effectively address health needs in the rural/remote villages where our projects are engaged. Much of the infrastructure to do this is in place, with our Library Boats circulating to remote villages and our Learning Centers in rural District towns, and through the local relationships we have built. (The one big infrastructure piece missing is a reliable 4-wheel drive vehicle to get CLI staff through muddy mountain roads to project sites – help?!)

Besides being a basic need in itself, creating the opportunity for children to access better health care would have an important impact on their education, allowing them to better concentrate on their studies and permit more of them to continue their education for more years.

The health care system in Laos is primitive. It becomes more so, in fact often non-existent, as you move out further in rural areas, and on to remote villages. Even where some simple care may be available, it is not free and even a tiny cost will often be an insurmountable barrier for a poor family.

We are weighing options for a CLI health program. These may include providing periodic visits by small teams of international medical volunteers, training for District health workers, sourcing basic medical supplies, etc. The exact shape of a modest initial project will be determined in consultation with interested international doctors and local health personnel, to find the most appropriate and effective way to engage.

IT

In addition, we are in talks with a couple of well known global IT companies with the view to begin an online two-way knowledge transfer program linking our Learning Centers in Laos with schools, and teachers in developed countries.

This has huge potential in preparing Lao students especially, for working in an ever multinational environment, and forming bonds, but also fostering empathy and enlightening ‘Western’ students about the global community to which we all belong.

Further afield

As indicated by our name we are ultimately international in our orientation, and while Laos is our core base, we have been investigating extension of our development model to both Cambodia and Myanmar where there is also great need for development. CLI’s ability to be flexible, and having experience augmenting our projects to take into account local cultures and traditions, including ethnic groups is gaining us international recognition and offers, and we believe significantly reducing the effects of poverty in the region is a real viability.

While we are in talks with big names, and have big plans, this does by no means signify that smaller donations don’t make a difference. Indeed, 75% of our funding comes directly from individual donors.

We know you work hard for your money, and believe you should certainly enjoy it too – we just kindly ask that you may retain a thought for the Lao children when next buying your coffee for example, and occasionally perhaps put a dollar (or more) aside. You really can make a difference.

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