Profile Source: Peoples of Laos, Paul Hattaway
Introduction / History
Approximately 500 people belonging to the Botche Akha group inhabit several villages within northern Laos. They live on the border between Sing and Long districts in Luang Namtha Province.
We have profiled 12 different Akha tribes/groups in this book. These groups, although all linguistically related, view themselves as distinct entities because they arrived in Laos at different stages and from different locations in China and Myanmar. According to the French anthropologist Laurent Chazee, these different groups ".are communities with an ethno-linguistic situation.judged by itself so different from the other groups that this community wish to live separated by village or by quarter in the village." Chazee goes on to say, "The Akha are one ethnic group but culturally they are diverse and divide into a minimum of 14 ethnic groups."
In addition to the small number of Botche Akha in Laos, other members of this ethnic group are located in Yunnan Province, China, and possibly in Myanmar.
The Akha originated in southern China. In the 1800's, under pressure from Han Chinese settlers who were taking their land, many decided to migrate into northern Burma (now Myanmar), in search of their own land and a peaceful existence. Others entered Laos, Vietnam and Thailand. Because of their history as hunters, the Akha knew little about agriculture and have struggled to eek out very difficult lives. They are known as the poorest of the poor.
Today more than 600,000 Akha are scattered throughout Southeast Asia.
The Botche Akha are an unreached people group. There are no known Christians in their midst. Today there are many Akha believers in Myanmar and Thailand, but the Gospel has not spread easily to their compatriots in Laos or China. Sources say there are only a few known Akha believers among any of the groups in Laos.
The Akha New Testament exist. Few or none of the Akha in Laos, however, are able to read the Roman script. Literacy programs would need to be first implemented.
* Pray that obstacles to them hearing the Gospel will be removed.
* Ask God to raise up laborers to plant churches among the Botche Akha.
* Pray the Akha Christians in Myanmar and Thailand would share the Gospel with the Akha in Laos.