Laos is a mountainous country that is located in Southeast Asia and that gained independence from France in 1953. It is currently one of the few communist states in the world. Corn, coffee, peanuts, tea, and sweet potatoes are among the most common agricultural products. Popular industries include mining, rubber, construction, cement, and tourism, while natural resources are timber, gold, tin, and gemstones.
The elephant is the national symbol of Laos, and the national colors are red, white, and blue. As of July 2016, the country’s population totaled approximately 7 million, according to the CIA World Factbook. Most people within the country live along a river in small rural communities. Lao is the official language, while French, English, and different ethnic languages are also spoken. Buddhism is the most practiced religion, while other religions such as Christianity and animism are also practiced. Vientiane is the capital of Laos and has a population of 997,000 as of 2015, according to the CIA World Factbook.
population growth rate
More than 2,000
species of wildlife
FROM LAOS: MEET THE ARTISAN
Saoban Handicrafts is a social enterprise located in Laos, and the name Saoban means “villager” in the Lao language. A Lao NGO known as PADETC founded Saoban, which works to provide new and meaningful opportunities to artisans, improve product quality, and preserve cultural traditions. Within 10 provinces in Laos, Saoban has been working with hundreds of skilled and talented artisans. The artisans are village crafts producers, and the majority of them are from rural communities that experience poverty. More than 90 percent of the crafts producers are women, while approximately one-third of the group is from minority communities. The organization is committed to practicing fair trade principles and providing artisans with fair wages. Saoban provides resources such as micro-credits and basic training and helps these artisans work independently. Saoban also works with development partners to help artisans in their communities, such as with access to proper water and sanitation sources. All of the producer groups that Saoban works with are able to work from their communities and homes, allowing them to tend to other work as needed and to take care of their families while working.