Laos is a landlocked country bordered by Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Laos has a land area of 236,800 sq km and the population is close to 7 million. The population is diverse with 49 broad ethnic groups recognised by the Government of Laos and four major linguistic groups. Lao-Tai is the largest language group and consists of eight ethnic groups. The Lao-Tai form approximately 35% of the total population and are culturally dominant. The hill people and minority ethnic groups such as the Hmong, Yao, Dao, Shan and several Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples have lived in isolated regions of Laos for many years. Laos’ official language is Lao and younger Lao have English as their second language.
On the Human Development Index Laos is ranked 133 out of 182 countries. The infant mortality rate is 77.76 deaths per 1000 live births Laos has the youngest population of any country in Asia with a median age of 19.3 years. The economy is dominated by subsistence agriculture and 80% of the population relies on this for survival.
The dominant religion of Laos is Theravada Buddhism and Lao handicraft and although many elements of the Lao culture predate Buddhism, Theravada Buddhism has heavily influenced art and handicrafts. There is an enormous diversity of cultures, which make up the Lao nation and this finds distinctive artistic expression in the thriving crafts industry. As elsewhere in the region, Lao crafts traditionally have been an expression of the ritual or functional need. Some of the more popular handicrafts are the traditional ethnic Hmong weaving and other traditional products. The most famous Lao craft is hand-woven textiles made from locally produced cotton and silk. The best weavings are usually associated with religious occasions and the motifs in Lao textiles often include thousand year old symbols such as Tantric diamonds providing protection from evil spirits. Laos now abounds with small handicraft businesses with around 26000 registered with the government. The handicrafts sector is very important to the Lao economy.
The following are our eco ethical enterprise partners in Laos. Please click on the name to view more information about the enterprise and the products that they produce.
The tribal textiles and handicrafts of Sekong Province are high quality but without help with promotion the articles from this remote and wild region would not find a market.
This enterprise aims to support women’s income generation while preserving Lao textile designs.
Spinning thread by hand and weaving on a hand looms is tedious and time consuming work but it is an opportunity for women to work from home in their own business. Finding markets is the key to success.
This small village based enterprise provides livelihood support to family members.
Small scale enterprises are usually the backbone of a developing country’s economy
There are products from Laos in the following categories.
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