March 8 is celebrated all over the world as International Women’s Day, while in the United States, March is celebrated as Women’s History Month, a period when women are honored for their achievements throughout the history of this nation. On this occasion, VOA interviewed Mrs. Bounchanh Senthavong, president of the Lao-American Women Association of the Washington metropolitan area, on the association’s activities in promoting the rights of Lao-American women in the nation’s capital area.
The Lao American Woman Association (LAWA) was incorporated 12 years ago as a non-profit organization in the state of Virginia. LAWA president Bounchanh Senthavong said that the main goals of the Lao-born women’s association is to expand and strengthen the roles of Lao-American women, promote their rights, preserve Lao culture and support Lao youth in their endeavor to receive higher education.
Since its establishment in 1995, LAWA has set up Sunday Lao school, helped prepare Lao students for SAT, published bi-monthly Lao-English newsletters, staged Lao cultural shows, held yearly Mother's Day banquets, and participated in international women conference.
LAWA is a member of the Laotian American National Alliance (LANA), a national advocacy organization representing all Laotian -Americans at the national level. Mrs. Senthavong said that in the future, she wants to expand contacts with all women organizations, especially those of Laotian–American women across the US.
Mrs. Senthavong added that LAWA celebrated March 8, internationally recognized as International Women’s Day and the month of March, which is recognized as Women Month in the US, by participating in seminars and other activities with other organizations.