The Khmu People
The Khmu, also known as Khamu or Kaamu, are a minority people whose numbers are estimated
at about 600,000, with about 500,000 in Laos, 45,000 in northern Thailand and Vietnam,
10,000 in China and 8,000 in the U.S.A. They belong to the Mon/Khmer race and
are thought to be the original inhabitants of Laos, who were displaced by the Thai/Lao
migrating from China in the 14th.Century.
The Khmu work on the land: farming, gathering and hunting, and where water is available,
fishing. They eat a diet of glutinous rice, occasional chicken or pork, and a
variety of vegetables and fruits. Their income is very low, often just sufficient to
survive. They supplement their small income by making and selling knives, silver
bracelets and tobacco pipes, wooden bowls, baskets and woven cloths.
The Khmu are reported to be the first to become Christians in Laos as early as the
1800s and in 1960 the Khmu evangelical Christians numbered about 2,000. Now in
Laos there are 110 Khmu house churches and 150 open churches, with about 40,000 Khmu
Christians. In Thailand there are 5 Khmu churches. Since radio
broadcasts in the Khmu language were started in 1987 by the Far Eastern Broadcasting
Company [FEBC], the numbers of Christians and churches have been growing rapidly.
Also, after many years of waiting, the Scriptures are now being translated into the
In 1998 Sionh Chan of FEBC formed the Khmu Christian Connection [KCC] to oversee and
support the work among the Khmu. He has invited representatives of missions interested in
the work to be board members, including Dr. Geoffrey Atkinson of Chrestos Mission.
All money given to the Khmu work is channeled through the board, which meets quarterly.
What is Chrestos Mission doing to help these people?
- funding rice for Christians who have been expelled from their villages.
- funding and teaching at border seminars.
- funding treatment for poor pastors with medical needs.
- assisting in the establishment of centres in Laos for teaching and