Every year on 1 June we celebrate International Children’s Day. Like many countries, Lao celebrate Children’s Day through some traditional public activities like dancing, singing, drawing, playing games, exhibitions and in some places, combined with tree planting activity.

See Khang learning first aid skills at a Lao Rugby Federation coach training

Some of the events highlighted the day focusing on children’s rights around education, participation, development and so on.

For many children, it is a happy day to have fun and spend time with family and join school or community activities. It is also a day for us all to reflect on how important children are to our communities and our future – and consider how we can help them reach their full potential.

Take See Khang, a 16 year old girl living in Phonesavanh District, Xieng Khouang Province, for example. See Khang has a difficult family situation and since her father passed away, has relied on her older siblings to support her. Last year, See Khang became a coach with the Lao Rugby Federation, with support from ChildFund Pass It Back – a curriculum which provides integrated life-skills and rugby learning for children and youth in poor communities.

Through hard work and support, See Khang discovered that she had many skills, including mentoring, communication and leadership.

“I’m from a small community, but I have big dreams. I will have to work hard to achieve my goal. I’m so proud that at my young age, I’m able to lead children in my community to play rugby and learn life skills. Before being a part of Lao Rugby, I was very shy and didn’t dare even speak to people visiting my house or when meeting foreigners. Now I’m confident to speak to adults and communicate with foreigners”.

See Khang’s story demonstrates that children and young people have a lot to contribute to their communities if they are given the opportunity to grow and develop.

This year, on Children’s Day, we reflect on the crucial role of family, schools, civil society and government in helping children like See Khang. We all have a role to play in encouraging children to participate in school and community life, to develop a love of learning, develop their creativity and set dreams for themselves.

You can start from what you have and where you are, Happy Children’s Day!

Pass It Back is an innovative Sport for Development curriculum led by ChildFund in partnership with World Rugby, Asia Rugby and Women Win that delivers integrated life skills and rugby learning for children and young people in disadvantaged communities across Asia.  The Lao Rugby Federation implements the curriculum in Laos and is supported by the Australian Government.