- Name: May
- Gender: Female
- Role: Player
- Location: Laos
Among the mountains of Nonghet, in northeast Laos, hundreds of families in small villages make their living as farmers. Here, more than half of the population are among the most disadvantaged ethnic groups in the country.
For parents it can be a struggle to sufficiently feed their family, and for children and youth, a lack of access to and focus on quality education in their communities compounds the few opportunities they have in the future to break out of the cycle of poverty.
For 16-year-old May, who is of the Hmong ethnic community in Nonghet, one program is helping to make a difference.
Through a unique sport for development program, ChildFund Pass It Back, May has been learning about her rights, and has been developing essential leadership, communication and life skills.
The program, which helps empower vulnerable children and youth through the game of tag rugby and an extensive child development curriculum, has led to May taking on an influential role in her community as well as inspired her to work towards her dream of becoming a teacher.
The teen joined ChildFund Pass It Back with enthusiasm, despite never having played sport before, and today is training to be a coach so she can pass on the life skills and knowledge she’s learned to children and youth in her village so they, too, can reach their potential.
May has also been learning Lao, the official language of Laos, to better understand the ChildFund Pass It Back curriculum and make the most of the program’s educational resources. The ability to communicate in Lao is a rare skill in disadvantaged ethnic groups, where children often grow up learning only their ethnic language.
May says being part of the Pass It Back program has not only broadened her skillset, it’s changed her attitudes in life. “I feel braver and more confident in my abilities, and more willing to take on new experiences,” she says.