The collapse of a dam in Attapeu in July 2018 caused flash flooding into Khied’s small village in southern Laos and spread into neighbouring Cambodia.
At least 26 people reportedly died and more than 6,000 children and their families were displaced, seeking refuge in camps.
Khied’s family lost their home and everything they owned.
The ensuing 12 months have brought many challenges, but Khied says she has emerged stronger, thanks to ChildFund supporters and the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP) which helped to provide vital relief after the floods.
“Among all the misfortune there have still been some really good things that have made me happy,” Khied says.
“I’ve never felt discouraged or cursed by fate as a result of the disaster. It has made me into a much stronger person in both body and mind.”
After the flooding, Khied was worried she would not return to school. Her family was homeless and her parents had no way to make a living.
The event had been traumatic.
After their home was destroyed, Khied was dragged out with her brother and sister by the force of the water, to the forest.
It was five days before they saw their parents again.
“During the flood, I told my sister and brother to hold onto a tree so we would not float away,” Khied said. “There was so much debris like roofs, and logs and rocks that hit us.
“I had to stay alert and take care of my brother and sister so they wouldn’t be scared.”
The siblings ended up on a mountain in the forest, where they stayed overnight.
The next day, Khied saw the extent of the devastation. Debris was floating everywhere and there wasn’t a house in sight.
“I could only hear the sounds of people, injured and crying,” she says.
“I tried looking for my parents and calling out for them, but I didn’t see them anywhere.”
They spent seven months at a displacement camp supported by ChildFund Laos, where the family received the help it needed to get back on its feet.
Khied was able to return to school and is now excited about finishing her studies next year.
She says the time she spent volunteering at a Child-Friendly Space at the camp has made her more confident about the future.
“I have learned to be more courageous, to participate more, and am better at sharing my thoughts and opinions,” Khied says.
“Part of that is that I’ve been able to attend trainings on how to implement activities through the Child-Friendly Spaces project.
“This has also allowed me to participate better and play a greater role in activities at my own school, especially dancing and playing sports.
“I even play on my school’s volleyball team.”
If you had the power to change the world, would you? Well what if we told you that you do?
When we think about changing the world, we naturally want to do something really big and make a massive, but instant impact. While you may not be able to single-handedly end hunger in Africa, or provide all the children in Timor-Leste with malaria nets, there are small ways anyone can change the world every day.
To show you how with small steps we can all make a big impact, we’ve listed our top twenty-one ways that you can change the world, right now.
You can also print out our infographic to keep the list close at hand for your reference.
Change the world by being a better you
Change starts with us and how we ourselves behave in the world:
1. Smile at a stranger
2. Forgive and don’t hold grudges
3. Be yourself, unapologetically
4. Be willing to offer help
5. Practice gratitude for the good things in your life
6. Think before you speak
Change the world by helping others
When we are grounded, and sure of ourselves, we can help and support others:
7. Stand up for someone who is being treated unfairly
8. Call someone you know out of the blue
9. Celebrate other people’s success and achievements
10. Learn more about how and where your clothes are made
11. Rescue an animal from a shelter
Change the world by choosing and supporting a cause
We can help people we don’t know, but who need our support, in small and easy ways:
12. Start a corporate giving program at work
13. Donate to a relevant charity
14. Ask for a charity donation instead of gifts for Christmas
15. Be active about your cause on social media
Change the world by helping the environment
Taking small steps to respect our environment can have a big impact:
16. Put all your rubbish in the bin
17. Recycle papers and cans
18. Pick up trash you see in the streets
19. Print fewer documents to help the trees
20. Turn off unused power points to save electricity
21. Drink from a reusable coffee cup or drink bottle
Want to change the world?
It only takes a small act of kindness to change the world. By committing to any of the actions we have listed below, you can make an impact on someone’s life. If we all took such small steps together, it would be a large step for the entire human race towards a better world.
To make a difference and change a life right now, in less than a few minutes, donate to our current appeal, and help those most in need live fearlessly.
You can also take an exciting and rewarding leap into child sponsorship. Help a child grow up fearlessly, with a monthly donation to provide them with proper nutrition, safe water, access to education and healthcare. Why? Because every child needs a childhood.