Why we are Helping and how YOU can get involved

The remote villages of Laos have never recovered from the 'Secret' war of the 1960's. While rich in culture and tradition, their education, healthcare and hygiene conditions are severely lacking. The average lifespan is only 56 years and average age is only 20.8, caused by poor quality water, poor hygiene and general poverty. BUT with your help we have already made a difference in the lives of over 2700 villagers.

We have built schools in the villages of Pha Yong and Had Chanh, and a 3rd school located in Done Lom is under construction. We have also distributed over 200 water filters systems and completed hygiene training for three entire villages. Each family is required to take this course before a filter is provided, in order to promote a longer, healthier and happier life. A new water source including a dam, water tank and taps has been completed, as has our first bank of hygienic toilets.

It doesn't stop there. We have requests for 34 new projects and with your help, will do what we can to support as many requests as possible.

You can help in so many different ways. Before you do though, note that less than 5% will go to direct overhead costs, contrary to many NGO's who's overheads can reach 80%. Sponsors for every project will receive emailed pictures and details of how the money was spent.

Here are some examples of how you can help with your financial contribution.

- $55 buys a water purification filter for a family of 8.
It will also include your name on the water filter and a picture forwarded to you with the family and the filter unit.
- $12,500 US buys a school for grades 1, 2 and 3. Perhaps you would like to sponsor or assist us to sponsor a school.
- $4,000 US (approx) buys school tables and desks for a three room school and a two-room kindergarten.
- $700 US (approx) pays for a teacher for one year
- $50 US buys education for one child for one year including school fees, 2 uniforms, shoes, backpack and school supplies.
hygienic washroom facilities rane depending on the number of stalls and start at about $3000, but are critical to prevent more disease.

If you would like to become involved and to help the people of rural Laos help themselves lead a more fulfilling life, please email us at AdoptaVillageinLaos@gmail.com. Official Tax Receipts are not yet possible although we hope to receive charitable status this summer. Meanwhile we would still love to hear of your interest.

Please help............we cannot do this alone....

Meanwhile, please enjoy our updates below.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pha Yong Village Update

This summer and fall has been a whirlwind. All of a sudden it is time to leave for Laos again.

When we returned from Luang Prabang at the end of the spring, I had no idea what the summer would hold for us. I knew there were a lot of desperate pleas from various villages to assist. When I received pictures of the one village with just a mud hole to drink from, my heart just sank then a little determination took over...OK...a lot of determination. Raising funds for a local cause is one thing but raising funds for another country half a world away just seemed the impossible dream.

Both Mike and I just couldn't believe the response. We had our first function and sold out in two weeks from launch and good-hearted citizens just seemed to come out of the wood work. It was then that I realized just how many people I actually knew and how many people wanted to help by doing their own fundraisers. In three months there were 5 fundraisers. On the other side of the coin I started working with some of the Rotarians that I knew. Every club I presented to, donated or committed to donate. Further, through a blog I set up (OK so I had some wonderful help) it was amazing to see just how many people have been reading it and how many new contacts I made. In fact one of them will be visiting us in Laos over Christmas. This wonderful lady from Gravenhurst has indicated serious interest in helping us to build more schools, buy library books and do a bicycle distribution in Laos. Even more amazing, through her contacts I was also asked to put together a much larger proposal for next year - to put this in perspective, it would be equivalent to sponsoring 12 schools! Another highlight was that we are just waiting for our Not-For-Profit official paperwork. As of today we are told that it will probably be another couple of weeks before we see it.

I think the largest driving force for me was to see our pictures on the front page of GO magazine (a quarterly magazine of the Northumberland News) and the accompanying article. The article was well thought out and written. Now we have no choice but to live up to that. The magazine is certainly well read in our community. Since then I still get a lot of positive comments.

Before I continue though, I wanted to give the latest update on Pha Yong village. I think the pressure is on for them as they try to finish before all the local Government Officials arrive with us to officially open the school in just four weeks. Remember this is all manual labour. Here are a few pics of the progress.

They still have to parge the entire left side of the building but it is looking pretty good. They have also had a problem matching paint colours. After two visits to Luang Prabang (over 6 hours each way), the supplier still hasn't managed to match up the colours.

It will certainly be wonderful to see our first two projects there completed.

So there you have it in a nutshell. I was going to give special thanks to some of the special people who helped us make this happen but to be frank I am not only likely to miss someone and regret it forever, but there are over 200 special people and organizations that did whatever they could manage ranging from $3 up to thousands. Every single dollar will go a long way and I am getting excited to be able to share with you exactly where your money will be spent.

Still I would like to thank the various Clubs of Rotary including Whitby Rotary, Port Hope Rotary, Northumberland Sunrise Rotary and Oshawa Rotary. There are additional Rotary Clubs also that we have made good contacts with. Thank You to All.

Next, I have to figure out how we are going to take 544 toothbrushes, over 200 tubes of toothpaste, over 200 T-shirts, solar garden lights and a host of other things, in our luggage. Cathay Pacific has been kind enough to sponsor an extra bag but they only fly to Bangkok. I am trying to work with Bangkok Airways to see if they will help for the last leg of the journey but it doesn't look good at this stage because we don't have our official status yet.

One thing about the tooth brushes, I wanted to first of all thank Dr. Roxana Popa for being the first to jump in with her own generous support. Then, the next time I went into Altima for just a teeth cleaning, the entire staff had a donation ready for me when I arrived. It was a heart wrenching moment. In fact there have been a lot of those. One couple saw our presentation at the Capitol Theatre and once they saw a picture of that mud hole, that was it. They personally donated the rest of the money needed to fund a new water source. They did this as an anniversary gift to each other.

I also wanted to thank Dr. Anna Tucka for her personal donation plus the toothbrushes and toothpaste. She would have given me floss too but unless I show the rural villagers how to use it, they are likely to use it to tie branches together or something. I am told that she has even more stuff for us to take. Fortunately Mike, Ted Amsden, Jennifer Hawthorn and Jennifer Mercer are flying Air Canada so guess where my next baggage request will go?

Just five days to go and a 26 hour flight (ugh!) before we can all start fulfilling the dreams of the village people. I will update you as internet access allows.

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