A Grandmother and an Agent!
Nakhao Village, Vientiane, Laos–Ms. Pheng, aged 55, a single mother of six children and a grandmother of four, has known Peuan Mit (Friends International Laos) for over six years. Her job is collecting plastics at the city landfill, which she sells to a nearby recycling plant. On average she can make around 700,000 Kip (US$74) per month doing this. Working as a collector she can decide her own working hours, so she chose work there over a job in a factory.
In 2019, the family was stripped of their income by the COVID-19 lockdown and closure of the landfill. During that time Peuan Mit provided emergency food and hygiene supplies so they could get by. Later in 2020, Peuan Mit supported her four grandchildren with school materials to attend primary school.
Ms. Pheng says she does not have any skills other than plastic collecting, however most of her time now is spent looking after her grandchildren when they are not going to school. She also takes care of a small vegetable garden and raises a number of chickens for the family’s table. At the beginning of 2020 she was trained and certified as a ChildSafe Community Agent, specializing in education dropout prevention. As an Agent she is involved with supporting Peuan Mit’s school reintegration campaigns in communities, supporting parents to register their children for school, keeping an eye on children supposed to go to school to prevent drop out (especially children supported by Peuan Mit) and reporting children/families in need to Peuan Mit using the ChildSafe Hotline.
ChildSafe Agents are vital people in their communities, key players in protecting children and ensuring safe environments for them to thrive in, and Ms.Pheng is very much one of our #everydayheroes – a mum, a granny, and… an Agent!
*Names changed for privacy