In the speeches that followed, it became clear just how grateful the community was for the preschool – the first of its kind in this village. They told us with their words, but they especially told us with their smiles, their hugs and the amazing welcome and wonderful day they put on for us. The message couldn’t have been clearer and we don’t even speak the same language!
After being blessed by the community’s spiritual leader, we spent the rest of the day getting to know the village and its people. We enjoyed a delicious meal prepared by some local families and were treated to traditional dance and music performances.
When it was time to go, we dragged out our goodbyes and thank you’s as much as we could before reluctantly getting back into the cars. I will always remember their smiling faces and I really hope I get to go back. I would love to take my kids there. I think they would have so much fun playing with the local children.
Driving back it all seemed a bit surreal. The preschool opening had come and gone. At first I felt like it was all over but I’ve realised it has only just begun. I am so so proud.
ChildFund Australia CEO, Nigel Spence says: “On behalf of ChildFund staff here and in Laos, I would like to thank the Rhodes family for their generosity and commitment to children in Nonghet. Without their support, children under five in this remote village would not have access to early childhood education, which we know is critical for their healthy development.”
The Rhodes family recently shared their story with ABC’s 7.30 program in a very moving report. Watch here.