Used dinosaurs, cartoons and videogames will now secure a better future for poor and marginalized children from the opposite side of the world. The Children’s Museum of Stavanger hosted a toy auction in the end of February to raise money to schools for the Akha-minority in the mountains of Laos.
“I have sold my Bratz beauty-saloon for one hundred kroner” she confesses proudly to the reporter from the Norwegian newspaper Aftenbaldet.
11-year old Linda Fagerland should be proud of her business talent but also of her generosity. From her stand in The children’s museum in Stavanger she have sold several of her toys to other children. But the most precious belongings, a board game containing a ‘really good radio’ she has decided to donate, so the less fortunate children of the world can go to school.
Education: the way out of poverty
The 28th of February the children’s museum was hosting a toy auction where all the money from the donated things went to the Stavanger-based Norwegian NGO Hei Verden’s school building project in the mountain villages of the poor Akha-trbe in Laos.
“The auction is an excellent link between solidarity and environmental concerns, because the old toys are being recycled to other children. We often see that the children are very generous” says Kari Vestbø, who is the spokesperson for Hei Verden. She underlines that the money from the children would be much appreciated.
“Illiteracy and poverty are major problems among the Akhas, by providing education for the children we hope to solve there problems. The Akha lives their life isolated and marginalized in the mountains and there is no schools for them, so they can educate themselves out of their misfortunate situation” she ads.
The school project is run by Hei Verden in cooperation with Kirken Nødhjælp in Norway and includes construction or improvements of eleven schools in the area, education of teachers from the Akha community, who among other subjects can teach the children in the culture and language of the Akha’s purchases of materials and establishment of a library.
Divided by gender
The tribe’s unusual social structure has continuously caught the attention of antropologists alle over the world. In stead of living in traditional families, the Akha-tribe normally live small bamboo-huts divided by gender – one side is for the women, and the other side, occupied by the men, is used as a more public area.
The Akha-minotity is a hill tribe of subsistence famers, who is believed to have originated in Mongolia around 1500 years ago. Most of the remaining Akha people are now distributed in small villages among the mountains of Laos, Burma, Thailand and China and the estimated number of remaining Akha people is around half a million.