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Meeting our first ever community sponsorship visitors in Laos

Since 2010, ChildFund Laos has been implementing projects in Nonghet district, Xieng Khouang province in northern Laos. ChildFund now works in partnership with 27 communities across a range of projects including education, health, livelihoods and child protection.

Community sponsorship is helping to connect our supporters in Australia with the communities they are supporting in Nonghet. As ChildFund Laos` communications manager I get the opportunity to be part of this program. So I was excited to welcome our first ever Community sponsorship visitors to show them how their support is making a real impact in my country.

Bonnie and James (pictured above, right) are a couple from the Southern Highlands in New South Wales, Australia. Bonnie works in childcare and her partner, James, is a plumber, so they both had very interesting questions about our education and water and sanitation work particularly.

My colleagues and I met Bonnie and James in Phonsavanh, the capital of Xieng Khouang province on 18 February.  They joined us in a van heading to Nonghet.  The weather was warm, but it started to rain and even hailed heavily in the evening. Nonghet is situated in the mountains near the Vietnamese border so around this time of year it can be very cold. Luckily by morning, the day that we planned to visit a village and local school, the weather had improved.

Khounkham standing outside ChildFund Laos` office in Vientiane

First we set off for the ChildFund Laos office in Nonghet town where our staff briefed the pair on our projects in the 27 communities. Then we brought Bonnie and James to one of our partner villages where they had the chance to say hello to some of the children that ChildFund works with and even had time to play some games together!

For us ChildFund Laos staff, we developed even more respect for our Community sponsorship supporters, many of whom do not have high-paying jobs, but they still support the organisation in its efforts to address poverty and child rights here in Laos.  Bonnie told me during the trip that she would like to help and support disabled people in the community, particularly children, which was why she got involved with Community sponsorship.

Bonnie has been a Community sponsor since August 2013 and was very happy and impressed with what she saw after experiencing the real atmosphere in the communities.  “I’m impressed by how large the projects are and how well organised ChildFund is. I imagined it would be only one school or one health centre built in the community,” she told me.

We were able to show her that the impact is much, much more.

Bonnie was very excited to tell all her family and friends about her time visiting the communities in rural Laos when she got home. Read her story here.

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