There was a great air of excitement as people all across Laos joined together to celebrate with their children on International Children’s Day on Saturday.

As it is considered the most important day for children, parents throughout the country took them to exciting places, fed them special food and helped them to join in many fun activities.

The official ceremony for the day was held at the National Culture Hall in Vientiane where hundreds of parents brought their children to enjoy the various activities on offer, a situation that was repeated in every province in the country.

The hoards of children joined in the various activities at the National Culture Hall and in many other venues in Vientiane last Saturday to celebrate what has become a major event worldwide on June 1 each year.

One of the main attractions that parents brought their children to enjoy was organised by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism (MICT) in cooperation with the National Commission for Mother and Child (NCMC) at the National Culture Hall.

The major activities there included healthcare, painting and handicraft exhibitions which continued through the day until the evening.

The highlight of the celebrations was a traditional music and dance performance given by children during the afternoon. Attending the performance were Dr Keosaichay Sayasone, the wife of the President of Laos, Minister of the Government Office and NCMC’s President Khempheng Pholsena and MICT’s Deputy Minister Savankhone Razmountry, leading other officials for the opening ceremony.

The Prime Minister’s address on Children’s Day was delivered by the President of NCMC at the opening ceremony. In the address the premier noted that the occasion provided everyone with a good opportunity to review the implementation of the Party and government’s policies towards the children of the multi-ethnic Lao people as well as other conventions related to children, particularly the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Other important parts of the address were in relation to health. There were many achievements, including the mortality rate of children under 1 year old falling to 48/1,000, the mortality rate of children under 5 falling to 61/1,000 and the maternal mortality rate reducing to 339/100,000. In addition 37 percent of women giving birth are now assisted by doctors; the HIV/AIDs rate is low at 0.28 percent; the rate of people with access to clean water is now 79.5 percent and the proportion of people with latrines stands at 55 percent.

“With regard to the above achievements and on behalf of the Lao government, I would like to congratulate the National Commission for Mother and Child at both central and local levels, together with various sectors, local authorities, the Lao Front for National Construction and other organisations as well as State and private business units and the multi-ethnic Lao people, for their progressive contribution to the task of protecting mothers and their children.

At the opening ceremony MICT’s Deputy Minster Mr Savankhone Razmountry also gave a speech expressing how honoured the ministry was to be the ceremony organiser for the children in Vientiane.

“To celebrate the day we also printed posters on children’s rights and brochures to distribute to districts and targeted villages under the Three Builds directive across the country. Today, we have organised exhibitions of some children’s achievements, question and answer sessions about children’s rights and general knowledge, healthcare and other activities them,” he explained.

The Deputy Minster also thanked government officials, local private enterprises, businesses and other organisations, both domestic and international, for their support in providing funds and materials amounting to over 879 million kip.

It wasn’t only the National Culture Hall that was celebrating the special children’s day in Vientiane. There were functions being held in a number of other places like the International Trade and Exhibition and Convention Centre, which organised a similar event. Many government officials, schools and local businesses also conducted ceremonies throughout Vientiane on Friday and Saturday.

Source: Vientiane Times
June 3, 2013