Prai in Laos

Photo Source:  Copyrighted © 2024
Peoples of Laos, Asia Harvest  All rights reserved.  Used with permission
Map Source:  Joshua Project / Global Mapping International
People Name: Prai
Country: Laos
10/40 Window: Yes
Population: 31,000
World Population: 52,000
Primary Language: Prai
Primary Religion: Ethnic Religions
Christian Adherents: 1.00 %
Evangelicals: 0.90 %
Scripture: New Testament
Online Audio NT: Yes
Jesus Film: No
Audio Recordings: Yes
People Cluster: Mon-Khmer
Affinity Bloc: Southeast Asian Peoples
Progress Level:

Introduction / History

Research into the Prai is often made difficult because the Lao and Thai call them and the Mal people by the same name, Htin. They also call them Kha Phai, which is a derogatory name.

According to one source, the Phai in Xaignabouri are different from those in Laos, but the Phai of Phongsali are the same culturally and linguistically. The Phai of Phongsali have also been influenced by their neighbors, the Phunoi.

Prai live in two widespread areas of northern Laos. One group live in Phongsali Province, the northernmost province of Laos, in the Boun-Tai, Boun-Nua, Phongsali and Samphan districts. A large number of Prai also live in Xaignabouri Province, further south. They live in the Hongsa, Xaignabouri and Phiang districts of Xaignabouri Province. Others live in neighboring Thailand.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Prai are generally known as a poverty-stricken and despised people, with a poor sense of self-worth. In some places they have hired themselves out to Hmong and Mien as menial laborers. Their hard lives contribute to their generally dejected appearance. Whatever property or wealth a Prai family is able to gather is inherited by the youngest daughter.

The Prai "typically subsist by hunting for wild game, raising domestic animals and farming small plots of land. Since metal is taboo in their culture, they are particularly skilled at manipulating bamboo to make everything needed around the house; for floor mats and baskets they interweave pared bamboo with a black-colored grass to create bold geometric patterns."

What Are Their Beliefs?

There is some Buddhist influence among the Prai in Laos. Several villages are reported to have temples, but the majority of Prai remain bound to traditions and a host of evil spirits that they feel forced to continually placate.

What Are Their Needs?

There are about 100 known Prai believers in Laos. Most of these came to Christ in refugee camps in Thailand and were later repatriated back to Laos.

Prayer Points

Pray God would breathe his life and fire into the few known Prai believers in Laos.

Pray for believers to make disciples among the Prai people who in turn will make more disciples.

Pray the Prai would be set free from the evil spirits and traditions that have bound them for centuries.

Text Source:   Joshua Project