Haimi was the first child I photographed in the Children’s Village in Laos. Her SOS mother was tucking her in under a sky-blue blanket, and she looked up at me and smiled. Like many of the other children, Haimi lost her parents to unexploded ordnance from the Vietnam War, but luckily she was taken in by the NGO. She cried every day the first three months in the village, but today she loves her new home and family. She liked me, and blushed every time I looked at her. Haimi wants to become a dancer when she grows up.
There is a total of six SOS Children’s Villages in Laos, each housing around 100 children in ten houses, with an adoptive mother in each. The children are taken care of until age 23. The mothers are local women who choose not to get married or have biological children on their own, but instead dedicate their lives to the wellbeing of the orphans. With a daily budget of only 2$ per SOS family, the mothers teach their children to work small vegetable gardens. Some of the mothers carry a golden ring around their finger - a symbol of 10 years service.