As you might have heard from our previous reports, the non-profit "Give Children A Choice (GCAC)" organization has built 21 pre-schools in Luang Prabang, Laos, since 2003. GCAC's mission has recently shifted to a more remote region of Laos such as Xieng Khouang province, where three pre-schools have been built and many more are planned.
VOA has previously aired an interview with GCAC founders, Dori and Barbara Shimoda, about their organization's new mission which includes providing vitamins to children in Xieng Khouang. This week, we bring you an interview with two valuable GCAC coordinators in Laos: Miss Vilakone Chansamouth and Dr. Chanthala Phetdaoheuang.
Vilakone Chansamouth talked to VOA by phone from Vientiane about her involvement
with Give Children A Choice. Vilakone had helped GCAC as a volunteer prior to attending
graduate school at Syracuse University in New York. "After returning to
Laos, I wanted to work with such an organization to help Lao children who are
less fortunate in remote regions of the country.
My main responsibility in the Vitamin project is to coordinate with the Lao government, especially the Lao Public Health Department, and Vitamin Angel, provider of the vitamins that Give Children A Choice will be distributing in April in Xieng Khouang province to more than 24,000 children. We are currently working on the proper paperworks to bring the vitamins to Laos by April. As a Lao person, I am very happy to be a part of this project," explains Vilakone.
Dr. Chanthala Phetdaoheuang, head of the Food & Drug Administration of Xieng Khouang province, also discussed with VOA her involvement in GCAC's Vitamin project. "I have been involved with the Vitamin project since last year. I've coordinated and liasoned with the Central Government (Public Health Department) in Vientiane, the local office and GCAC to facilitate the distribution of vitamins to children in an upcoming event in April. It's my job to make sure the process goes smoothly and the children receive our help. Our plan was to have the vitamins distributed to three facilities(pre-schools) that GCAC has built, with distribution starting from the town's health facilities all the way down to the remote villages," said Dr. Phetdaoheung.
Dr. Phetdaoheung, herself a Xieng Khouang native, says she is very honored and happy to help her own villagers. "We are still short of many things, especially medical supplies, medical equipments, even though we have a village clinic, but we do not have the necessary medical equipments to provide needed service to all villages. On behalf of the provincial government, I'd like to thank Give Children A Choice for helping and bringing such needed help to the Xieng Khouang people. I would very much like to encourage all of you to reach out and help us. We are in dire need," concluded Dr. Phetdaoheung.
VOA will follow up on Give Children A Choice's future projects and periodically bring them to you. For those who are interested in donating and volunteering for GCAC, please go to http://www.givechildrenachoice.org
Listen to audio files for more details.