December 2011 Newsletter – Legacies Secures Highest Level of U.S. Funding for UXO activities in Laos in History

Posted: Dec 27, 2011


December 2011 Newsletter
Legacies of War was created to raise awareness about the history of the Vietnam War-era bombing in Laos, to provide space for healing the wounds of war and to create greater hope for a future of peace.  
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Legacies Secures Highest Level of U.S. Funding
for UXO activities in Laos in History

Dear Friends and Supporters,


At the beginning of 2011, we were worried that the U.S. might reduce its funding for Laos for UXO activities. After all, we faced great economic uncertainty and significant budget cuts. But Legacies redoubled its efforts to keep up the pressure on the U.S. government, and we can now share some amazing news! Just last week, Congress approved an increase in spending for UXO activities in Laos from $5 million in 2011 to an incredible $9 million in 2012 – the LARGEST annual amount ever. This means more land will be cleared, lives will be saved and opportunities made available to the people of Laos.     


UXO Lao staff carry a 250 lb bomb from the creek bed where they have just completed the removal of the detonator in Luang Prabang, Laos. (Photo Courtesy of Paul Wager
Just think: when we started our work to increase the visibility of the issue among U.S. policy makers and the general public, the U.S. was spending an average of just $2.5 million a year on UXO activities in Laos. Because of your support for Legacies, we have now helped to TRIPLE the amount that the U.S. provides to Laos for UXO activities! What an incredible impact!
We want to thank YOU so much for helping us to push for this tremendous victory for the people of Laos, who will benefit greatly through the increased amounts of funding for clearance of UXO-contaminated lands and assistance for victims of UXO-related accidents.

But remember, NONE of this funding goes to Legacies! All of it – $9 million in 2012 – will go to the various non-governmental organizations working on the ground to help people in Laos. Legacies relies on the generous donations of individuals like you to help us do what we do- so we can help these groups do the great work they do in Laos.

Please help us to continue educating people in the U.S. and to mobilize greater resources to Laos. We need your help NOW. 


Starting in January, we will begin our education and advocacy process anew, to ensure that the progress we achieved this year does not slip away, but continues in 2013 and beyond.
A Lao mother holds the photo of her two children, Paeng (left) and Piou (right). On their way home from school in November of 2010, Piou picked up an unexploded cluster bomblet which she found near her home. When warned of its danger, she threw it to the ground. Piou, age 10, was killed in the explosion, while her sister Paeng, age 15, sustained numerous shrapnel injuries. The accident took place in Na Sa La Village in Bolikhamsay Province, Laos. (Photo by Giovanni Diffidenti, Source:

The Legacies of War 2011 List of Awesomeness:
Our year-end list recognizes the people who inspired us in 2011 with their stories, commitment, and passion for making sure that the UXO issue in Laos is not forgotten. Their voices anchor our efforts to continue pushing for greater resources to clear land, support survivors, and help build a safe and peaceful future.
These 11 of 2011 are simply AWESOME:
1) The People of Laos: The people living among the bombs continue to be the source of our inspiration, including survivors, children, other villagers and the demining teams, such as the all-women’s demining team we met this summer, who remind us about the importance of perseverance, compassion, and dignity.


Fence made from giant bomb cannisters, Thajok Village 30 km. North of Phonsavan, Xieng Khuang Province, Laos, S.E. Asia (Photo Credit: Stuart Westomoreland)
2) Young, Active, & Cool: This year, we helped some thoughtful, dedicated American students at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to educate their campus about the issue of UXO in Laos. Check out the Legacies of War Chapter. And did we mention our amazing Legacies of War interns, including students from Princeton, George Washington and Liberty University. The future is bright with this new generation of leaders.


3) Ambassadors: Our six former U.S. Ambassadors to Laos continue to lend their steadfast support to our cause by encouraging the U.S. to do more about the scourge of war in Laos. Read their most recent letter to Secretary Clinton


4) New Partners: The innovative and collaborative ways of our new partners in the field are awesome – UNDPWorld EducationArticle 22LovingEco, andPureCitizenContact us about partnership opportunities in 2012.


5) The Veterans: During our Veterans Week Campaign, former soldiers from the Vietnam War spoke about honoring their legacy of service by helping to create a peaceful and safe future for the people of Laos.


6) Our Supporters: Awesomeness reigns supreme among our board members, funders, community advisers, and volunteers from near and far. We are so grateful for their daily messages of encouragement, offers of support, incredible commitments of time, and donations!


7) Groups on the Ground: MAG, COPE, UXO Lao, NPA, World Education, Humpty Dumpty, and many others. They work tirelessly alongside individuals and communities to address the UXO problem in Laos.


Ambassador Karen B. Stewart checking out the UXO site near Kongtayoun Village, where she blew up some of the nearly 80 million cluster munitions, which still remain in the earth in Laos. (Source: U.S. State Department) 


8) U.S. Congress and the U.S. State Department (Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement): We are so lucky to have such awesome partners who support efforts to raise awareness and address the UXO problem in Laos and around the world.


9) The Coalitions: We support the Cluster Munition Coalition and the U.S. Campaign to Ban Landmines – and the idea that no other people should experience the harm caused by these deadly weapons.


10) Our Petition Signers: Our nearly 3,000 signers’ join our call for the U.S. to clean up cluster bombs in Laos; they remind us daily about the importance of this work.


11) Our Friends and Followers on FacebookTwitterVimeo and YouTube: You are awesome for all your “likes,” “pokes,” “shares,” and “comments,” which help to spread the word and raise greater awareness.
UXO clearance outside a school in Laos. (Photo: Courtesy of UNDP Laos)


Here’s a quick glance at what’s ahead in 2012:
  • Further increasing U.S. commitment to long-term funding for the Lao UXO sector – our goal remains $100 million over the next 10 years.
  • Conference on UXO in Laos (Washington, DC)
  • UXO Learning Tour in Laos
  • UXO Speakers’ Tour in the U.S.
  • Exhibition and outreach in a community near you
  • And much more!


Help us to make 2012 even more awesome!
Thank you, Kop Chai and Ua Tsaug to our most recent supporters!


Jane Pannell, Elizabeth Tolzman, Rod Kline, Chanida Phaengdara, Robert  Hettenbach, Vorada Savengseuksa, Mario Lugay, Christina Rattanavong, Malisamai Vue, Mariel Lim, Sean Hettenbach, Bobby Sayarath, Steve Ngo, Janelle Hu, Adisack Nhouyvanisvong, Aurora Dawn Foundation, George M. & Joyce D. Wilson, Stephanie D. Zito, Olivia Diez, Cynthia Nguyen, Mari Quenemoen, Peter Oshman, Puja Dhawan, Brett Dakin, Kasey Kunstmanas, Sandra Sebastian, Elaine Russell, Helly Lee and Yimeem Vu, World Education, United Nations Development Program, Ingrid Benedict, Ben Kohler


Category: Newsletters