8.30 start to visit Buddha Park near the first Friendship Bridge built between Laos and Thailand. This is a legal border between the two countries.
Buddha Park was built using the leftover cement left by the Americans after the war.
We then paid a visit to the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Center (LDWDC) which was established in 2002 as a not-for-profit organisation. It is run by women with disabilities, for women with disabilities and their families in Laos.
Women with disabilities in Laos have huge difficulties accessing education (it is usually a long way to walk which is hard) and gaining employment. They are also quite often locked out of society due to their disability. The LDWDC provides vocational and life skills training to women with disabilities in the areas of sewing, weaving, recycled paper products, IT, English, social development and small business. Following the training graduates are supported by LDWDC in helping them to find employment, pursue further studies or start their own small business. There are also a number employed at the Centre as trainers or working in the office or shop attached to the Centre. Around 30 graduates are employed in the handicraft production area giving them a small income for them and their families. During this absolutely worthwhile visit a donation was made by Jan Johnson(Townsville Rotary) towards the training of a new student and Sally Charlton on behalf of Bronwyn Rossiter and her friends. We then made arrangement to come back later in the day to fit three young ladies with four hands.
We had our final lunch meeting at You & Me Café. We said au revoir to the venerable Master Monk Phonsavanh Anousin who has done so much for the project and the poor people with in Laos, and Dr Somock and his team from the Lao Front for National Construction who were so helpful in getting the project and the team to the north east of the country enabling us to see such the wonderful sights of this amazing country and most importantly fitting amputees with hands.
We had a quick drop in to the hotel to pick up hands, straps etc for our fitting and training at LDWDC which was a real privilege to end this Laos 2018 trip. One delightful young lady was born with no hands or feet – she was originally a graduate of the centre and is now employed in the office and has been for the last four years.
In the evening presentations to the team were made by Sally with a special mention and momento to Team Leader Barry Tennent (Rockhampton) as this trip away from his family and business was his 30th RAWCS overseas trip. He has given his time, skills and knowledge in countries far and wide as part of Rotary Australia World Community Service Projects – an amazing giving person. Presentations were also given to Rebecca, Julian and Khon and their families as without their diligence, organisation and translation skills these amazing ten days would not have happened.