Kham Sai, 15, lives in a simple hut dwelling on the grounds of Photong village in Bountay district, Phongsaly in Laos. He shares the hut with six other boys from remote villages across Bountay who have all come to Photong for the same reason: to learn. The school in his home village only offered classes up to second grade, so Kham Sai left home and traveled to the nearest school with lessons up to fifth grade. For him, this was Photong School, an 8-hour walk away.
Kham Sai is one of eight children, but only two attend school. “Both my older brothers had to leave school to take care of my parents and my younger brothers and sisters,” says Kham Sai. “One of my younger brothers is in second grade at home. I am not sure if he will come and study at Photong School, but I tell him that he should.”
Kham Sai’s cousin also boards at Photong. Every night after helping each other with their homework, they cook dinner together with the food they have brought from home, along with the rice, tinned fish and iodized salt that WFP provides them each month. As part of the school meals program, WFP provides food for students at Photong to encourage them to attend school. “I only go home once every four months,” says Kham Sai, “I miss my family but I am happy I go to school.”
Kham Sai wants to continue studying and dreams of one day becoming a teacher. “I want to help my younger brothers and sisters to learn,” he says.