Hi Friends, hope you’re well.
In a couple of weeks, we will be volunteering in Laos, the neglected country in South East Asia. Laos, the most bombed country in the history of the world (by the US), where 90% of the population lives off of $1.25 a day, and 60% of the children under 5 are malnourished, needs a lot of help.
So let’s help.
Compared to its neighbours such as Thailand or Vietnam with their tourism and beautiful beaches, Lao People’s Democratic Republic is landlocked and has been forgotten about or taken advantage of many times throughout history. Between 1964 and 1973, the country of my passport dropped over 2 million tons of bombs on Laos, a country with which the US was supposedly not at war. That’s the equivalent of bombs the US dropped during WW2 in Europe and Japan combined! While visiting, we are strongly advised not to go for a hike alone, as approximately one third of these bombs did not explode, leaving a third of the countryside full of dangerous “ordnances” that still kill many people today. Most Lao are hardworking farmers, and even though they know their land is contaminated with unexploded bombs, they can’t afford other plots, and have no choice but to plow in this earth and chance striking a buried bomb. “Over the past four decades, fewer than 1 million of the estimated 80 million cluster munitions that failed to detonate have been cleared”, says lagaciesofwar.org. This is a country where today, you will still see the long lasting effects of the 11 million gallons of Agent Orange, the poisons gas that the US sprayed over large parts of this borderless war, still deforming the children of those affected over 45 years ago.
One thing you won’t see in Laos is obesity. Almost 20% of the population is considered malnourished, which leads to delayed development and a high mortality rate. Almost 50% of deaths of children under five are due to undernutrition. According to Borgenproject, “food security, diet diversity, and water and sanitation all contribute extensively to the malnutrition issues.” Did you know that if you lived in the Laos compared to the USA you would be 85% less likely to be obese, or that you would live approximately 16 years less, or that literally thousands of schools in Laos do not have safe water or latrines, causing widespread health complications?
Suzanne and I want to help. We are going to help. Can you help us help them?
We are humbly asking for $2,000 to assist the children of Laos.
Suzanne will be teaching Lao interns/new doctors at a children’s hospital in central Laos. This bed side teaching will be great for the new docs as there’s no formal specialised training available for them in country after basic medical school. Currently the main illnesses children are suffering from requiring hospital care are Dengue, Beri Beri (thiamine deficiency) and Japanese Encephalitis. There is no official trauma centre in the country. Suzanne will be teaching her specialty, emergency care. The government spends less than 2% of its already small GDP on health care.
I will be helping with Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in the rural Luang Prabang area and assisting World Vision in the southern part of Savannakhet where they have a WASH in schools program. We hope to give at least 50 water filters to schools, which can produce over 50,000 liters per day of safe water for years to come.
As always, 100% of any kind donation will be used to help those less fortunate than you and I. These Lao kids need help, and obviously $2,000 won’t fix everything, but we can make this “small” amount go a long way. With educating these doctors and teachers that we will be working with, the knowledge that Dr. Suzanne will be sharing with these new interns, and the hygiene training and thousands of liters of safe water I’ll be sharing with these underserved schools, we know this is a gift that will keep on giving.