Lao Fashion and Style

The sinh is a traditional garment worn by Lao and Thai women. While Thai women typically only wear the sinh for special or cultural events, in Lao the sinh is still very popular and is the go to style of dress that national and foreign women wear to work.
According to my friend Hongkham “The design of Lao and Thai sinhs are very different. The Lao sinhs are more intricate and have more detail.”
The sinh is made of cloth and is wrapped around the waist like a skirt. They come in many styles and colors, and women typically wear them with a waistband to hold the garment in place. Many women wear the sinh with stylish blouses of varying colors, creating a chic style that combines the traditional with the modern.

The sinh is not just a skirt, however, it is a traditional garment and many tailors will not cut the garment above the knee. The sinh is meant to go past the knee, and few if any tailors make exceptions, even for foreigners.
You can find sinhs made of cotton or silk, and they are avai…

World Population Day

World Population Day
On Tuesday July 11th UNFPA celebrated World Population Day; a UN event that seeks to raise awareness of global population issues. The theme for this year was “Family Planning: Empowering People, Developing Nations.”

Family planning is the practice of controlling the number of children a family has and the intervals between their births; it's considering when you want to have children, how you want to have children, and how you want to space them out. It’s an act of agency and self-determination that helps families develop the tools necessary to plan their futures, and gives vulnerable groups like adolescent girls more options by providing life skills and access to contraception. Recently, however, the definition of family planning has expanded to include quality of health and quality of life of the mother and child.

The World Population Day celebration included a press conference attended by the Minister and Vice Minister, the UNFPA Rep. Frederika Meijer, UNF…

A Lotta Bit of New and a Little Bit of Home: Latinos in Laos

Many people in the U.S. know nearly nothing about Laos, and I was one of them. I had heard of Laos once when I was in prep school at Northfield Mount Hermon and someone mentioned she was from Laos. Being in a new environment with so many wealthy well traveled young people I decided not to ask, and did the old smile and nod, like I knew what she was talking about.
So let me tell you a little bit about Laos. Laos is beautiful. It is a peaceful landlocked country bordered by China, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia. It is also one of five communist countries left in the world, along with Cuba, China, Vietnam, and North Korea. Similar to Cuba, you don’t see much begging or misery in Laos, which is something I always notice when I travel because there are few things more tragic to me than a street child. If you want to know something about a society, look at how it cares for its children.
But let me go back to where I was, I knew very little about Laos before getting on a plane here.…

Understanding and Serving the Needs of Adolescent Girls in Lao, PDR

When I face an injustice, I resolve to speak out about it and work to make sure it doesn’t happen to others. So, when I went to Ethiopia, after experiencing alienation for speaking out about sexual harassment and intimidation, I decided to dive deep into creating a fairer and just world for women and girls.

In Ethiopia my work focused on providing access to education and health services to adolescent girls, who are admittedly the “newest” and most popular target population in the gender and development world. According to the data, “when 10% more girls go to school, on average, a country’s GDP goes up by 3%. A single additional year of primary education increases a girl’s eventual wages by 15% and a year of secondary education increases her wages by 25%.”

Studies also show that to educate a girl is to educate a family, a community, and it significantly increases the likelihood of her children growing up to be happy, healthy and educated. While I am not…