Children A Choice (GCAC), a non-profit organization, was created purely out of
an American couple's love and passion of wanting to give the children of Laos a
choice in education. Since its establishment in 2003, GCAC has so far built
about 21 pre-schools, with new ones springing up every year in Laos. It started
off in Luang Prabang province and is currently moving beyond Luang Prabang
toward a more remote region of the country.
Dori Shimoda, founder of Give Children A Choice, talked to VOA about his latest project. "First of all thank you for having us here. It's always nice to talk about helping Lao children. We started building the schools in 2003 in Luang Prabang and we've completed 21 pre-schools there. And perhaps what is more important is that we have been empowered by the Ministry of Education to continue to promote our preschools. And we now have moved on to Xieng Khouang Province."
Give Children A Choice's mission is not only to provide the space for Lao children to study, but also to fill those buildings up with healthy children, as Barbara Shimoda, Vice President of the organization, mentioned in the interview. "We started doing a health fair in 2006. So far we have done 17 health fairs. It started out as an annual health fair - a big event; we were there for a week but covered more than five villages. Villagers came, parents brought their children, and we – the doctors that we accompanied us from the US – examined them, treated them in some cases and gave them medicines and vitamins. Laos has been known as one of the least developed nations. Children have reportedly been chronically malnourished and physically stunted. Give Children a Choice's mission has been expanded. We're not only building schools now, but also filling them with healthy children, and that gave birth to the Vitamin Project."
Currently, Give Children A Choice is moving toward more remote regions like Xieng Khouang and many others areas, hoping to build more pre-schools for Lao children. For the latest round of the Vitamin Project, Dori told VOA that Give Children A Choice will provide more than 24,000 multi-vitamin packages to children in Xieng Khouang province starting as early as December 2009.
interested in donating to GCAC and volunteering, please go to http://www.givechildrenachoice.org
Listen to audio files for more details.