A tailoring business in rural Laos is proving girls don’t need to risk exploitation abroad to find work.
For Noy and millions of other girls like her, the combination of unfinished education, inequality and exploitation are all too familiar. Today, 11 October, is the International Day of the Girl Child which raises awareness of these issues. It also recognises the global efforts that are being made towards a world free of discrimination for young women and girls.
Like many children in her village, Noy did not make it past primary school. Her parents could not afford it. So when Noy travelled to Thailand from her rural village in Laos, aged just 16, her job prospects didn’t look good. Noy found herself working 16-hour days in a biscuit factory under the scrutiny of a demanding boss.
‘The work was very hard for me and I was always so tired,’ Noy explains.
Noy lasted a year in the factory before exhaustion took hold. At just 17 years old, Noy returned to her village shouldering the burden of how she would help support her family now that she was no longer earning.