September 2012 Newsletter – More casualities, Visitors from Laos, and Trunk Show

Posted: Sep 29, 2012


September Newsletter 

In This Issue
Legacies Visits the Hill
Ock Pop Tok Trunk Show
Recent Victims of UXO in Laos
Thanks to Our September Donors
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Voices from Laos Tell Congress about UXO
World Education Laos joins Legacies to talk about better support for survivors

Speaking with staff in the office of Congressman Honda

Speaking with staff in the office of Congressman Honda

Members of Congress rarely have the opportunity to hear about UXO in Laos directly from Lao people who live with this problem every day. On September 14, Legacies brought voices from Laos to Capitol Hill, joining Bounsong Phoutthavong, Deputy Director of World Education Laos, and Dr. Oukham Aphayarath, Medical Director, to visit the offices of Congressman Mike Honda and Senator Patrick Leahy. Bounsong and Oukham told Congressional staff about the need for improved medical and rehabilitation services for UXO survivors in Laos and described a recent accident that took the life of a teenage boy in Xieng Khouang (see story below). World Education facilitates life-saving care for people injured by UXO explosions and provides them with economic assistance and livelihoods training. Over 100 people are still injured or killed by bomb explosions every year, and 57% of casualties in 2010 were children.

You can help. Legacies has teamed up with World Education to create the Hope Fund for Laos. Half of the funds raised through the Hope Fund go to replenish World Education’s War Victims Fund to help UXO survivors and their families pay for costly hospital expenses. The other half supports Legacies’ education and awareness-raising programs. Donate now to help families in Laos pay for life-saving treatment after a UXO accident, and to ensure that people in Washington, DC, and across the country learn about the problem and how we can solve it.

Ock Pop Tok Trunk Show
Legacies of War Partners with Fair Trade Textile Company

Trunk Show

Textiles and jewelry crafted by Lao artisans on display at Ock Pop Tok trunk show

On September 23rd, Legacies of War partnered with Luang Prabang-based company Ock Pop Tok to host a trunk show of Lao textiles at Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC. Ock Pop Tok is a fair trade company founded in 2000 that empowers women entrepreneurs and villagers in Laos and promotes the beauty of traditional Lao textiles. Ock Pop Tok and Legacies of War share a vision of a peaceful and prosperous future for the people of Laos, and the trunk show represented our first collaborative effort.

The trunk show featured 100% silk and cotton scarves and other textiles, designed and hand-woven by women artisans from multiple Laotian ethnic communities including lowland Lao, Hmong, and Ahka. Legacies Board Member Helly Lee talked to attendees about Legacies’ work to raise awareness about the history of the bombings of Laos and the ongoing problem of unexploded bombs. Jo Smith, Director of Ock Pop Tok’s Village Weavers Project, described the weaving process, the materials used in Ock Pop Tok products, and the artisans who make them. Visitors bought beautiful textiles usually unavailable outside of Laos, knowing they were supporting both the clearance of unexploded bombs from Laos and the livelihoods of Laotian women and families.

If you missed our event at Busboys and Poets, click here to find out more information about Ock Pop Tok!

Recent Victims of UXO in Laos
One boy killed, two injured by cluster bomb blast

Early this month, tragedy struck again in Xieng Khouang province. On September 1st, three boys, Koua (10), Youa (12) and Ye (15), were playing in Koua’s family garden when they found a cluster bomb. They picked it up and were playing with it when the bombie exploded, injuring Koua and Youa. Ye died immediately from the blast. The two surviving boys were hospitalized with fragments still lodged in their bodies. Youa suffered from a broken arm and knee injury, and Koua sustained wounds to his stomach, arms, legs, and mouth.

Youa

Youa, 12, injured by cluster bomb explosion in Xieng Khouang province

Legacies of War will continue our education and advocacy efforts in Washington, DC, to raise awareness about the terrible effects of UXO on the lives of Laotians, especially children, and to push for more resources to clear the country of these bombs.

Thank You, Kop Chai, and Ua Tsaug to Our September Donors!
Thanks to our September donors, including Sally Benson, Barton Hosley, Kathy Khommarath,Article 22, and one anonymous donor.

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