Loatian school Children involved in a CRS literacy and lunch program.

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CRS in Laos

Lao People's Democratic Republic (PDR) is a small, landlocked country of almost seven million people. The country is one of the poorest in Southeast Asia, without adequate education, health services and infrastructure to fully support the development of its people. Since 2007, Catholic Relief Services has been working in Laos in partnership with the local government to ensure that all children have access to quality education.





More About Our Work in Laos

CRS Laos 5-Year Country Program Strategy CRS in Lao PDR: Bi-Annual Update Inclusive Communities Project Lao PDR: Food for Education Child Literacy Development Project


People served: 256,556

Population: 6,911,544 (July 2015 est.)

Size: 91,430 sq mi; slightly larger than Utah

Programming Areas

CRS' History in Laos

Beginning as an outreach program run out of CRS’ office in Vietnam, CRS started operations in Laos in 1994. From its earliest days education has been at the forefront of CRS’ commitment to development activities in Laos.  As a leader in inclusive education, CRS has been a strong advocate in the effort to make education accessible to all children, regardless of disability. In 2013, CRS expanded significantly its education portfolio with the acquisition of a US Department of Agriculture funded School Feeding program.  With an end date of 2021, CRS’ current school feeding project provides free lunches to roughly 375 schools in Savahnaket Province of Laos.  

Laos holds the un-enviable distinction of being the world’s most heavily bombed country.  With an estimated 270 million cluster bombs dropped in Laos during the Vietnam war, rural Laotians live in risk of being maimed or killed by the effects of a war that happened more than two generations ago. CRS has responded with projects in Risk Education as well as Victims Assistance.  Risk Education projects work to educate the public to the dangers of unexploded ordnance with an emphasis given to children who face the greatest risk of unexploded ordnance.  Victims Assistance projects work in training rural Laotians who are the usual first responders with life-saving first aid techniques when an accident happens. 

By helping make education accessible to all children as well as reducing the risk of unexploded ordnance and working with communities to effectively deal with accidents when they do happen, CRS hopes to have a lasting impact on the lives of the people we have the privilege to serve in Laos.