I was looking at the Legacies of War website when I came across this video. One of the main people interviewed on this film is Bounmee, whom we had helped with vocational training and providing funds so he could study the three-year English language program at the local teacher training college.
Bounmee was injured in 1995, when he was about 13 years old. He's fortunate that he had a supportive family, and they encouraged him to continue with school. When he finished high school, he stopped by our office and asked if we could help. He didn't have funds for additional school. "I really find it difficult to be a family with only one arm," he explained. "I'd really rather study a subject where I can use my mind."
For the next few years, we provided the funds so he could study basic English and computer use and then helped him get into the Si Keurt Vocational Training School for the Disabled, where he graduated with a certificate in IT. Since then he's been helping us on and off, interviewing other UXO survivors and talking with guests who visit our project. For the past two years, he's been a volunteer with the Lao Disabled People's Association, helping with disabled people's groups and attending their training programs. Now he has been working at the Khun District Community Radio, the first community radio in the country.
Every time I go to Xieng Khouang, I spend some time with him and his family - he brought his father to my baci ceremony, where as an elder, he joined his voice with the mor phone who led the ceremony. When I happened on this video, I felt very proud of him. He's a very confident and articulate person now.