The Library of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia Project was established by a group of the heart felt American Veterans, who used to serve as infantry for the United States in Vietnam once before and wanting to go back to visit a place where they have been for their 30th anniversary. When they meet up in Vietnam, in 1999, the Library of Vietnam was born. After many great successes of libraries in Vietnam, many people around the globe, especially the American Veterans, see the importance of its cause and wanting to contribute the funding and grants to build more libraries. Currently, the Library of Vietnam Project has expanded to Laos and Cambodia.
Executive Director and a founder of Library of Laos, Mr. Francis J. (Chuck) Theusch talked to VOA before living to Laos this month. Chuck talked about the purpose and the goal of the Library of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia is a great way to remember those who fought during the war, and also makes it as a symbol of renewed peace and friendship between Americans and these Asian countries.
Chuck told VOA … “The Lao library started after the Library of Vietnam, when Mr. Ross Worley heard a lot of great things about the project, he had contacted me in Vietnam and flew see me in there. The reason that Mr. Worley was interested in Laos, because he has about 180 Laotians-Americans working for his concrete company in Kansas city. These Laotian employees have contributed to his success, therefore; Mr. Worley wants to do something to give back to these people. So the very first Lao library finished in 2004 and named Worley/Engelken Library to tribute for their support and funding.
Currently, there are about 6 libraries that already completed in Laos and the coming project; the 7th library of Laos will be built in Nong Het, Xieng Khouang, Laos. This is an important project because of its location, Xieng Khouang is a birthplace of many Lao-Hmongs and also where the American Secret War was fought in Laos that during the Vietnam War. The Lao library project is going strong; it gets a lot of supports from many Laotian-American, and Lao-Hmong communities and many private donors.
About the future plan for the Library Laos Project and he said, ”The grand future project of the Laos library is required a grand participation. The near future project that we are working on is the library in Attapeu, southern Laos and the ban Phong Village, near Vientiane. This is a collaboration of university students from both Laos and United States. They will build the library together from scratch. It would be a great opportunity to learn from one another.”
Chuck concluded, “We are very happy to have worked together, a collaboration of both side from Lao government and the organization. The Library project provides funding and the Lao government provides land and electricity to the location.”
Listen to audio files for more details.
For additional infomation please go to http://www.libraryoflaos.org