Status Update:

Current location: Bochum / Germany

50 countries, 1226 days, trip mileage: 124200 km

27 Mar 2009

Laos: Handicap International

07_Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)

Our last day in Vientiane turns out to be one of the most interesting ones: Elmar and I visit an exhibition from the ‘COPE’ charity – a really well-made and educational show about Laos’ heritage of unexploded ordinance and their devastating effects on the people. COPE work closely together with Handicap International and UXO Lao, and with a combined effort these 3 charities help to clear sites of landmines, educate the local population and run rehabilitation programmes to help mine victims.

01_Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)
02_Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)
03_Plaster room for prothesis, Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)
04_Plaster room for prothesis, Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)
05_Plaster room for prothesis, Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)
06_Prothesis in the Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)

As mentioned in the charity section on this website, I am fundraising for Handicap International with this journey. Making a donation is quick & easy – just follow the link and you’ll get taken to a secure server from a company “Just Giving”. 100% of your donation goes straight to Handicap International.
If you'd like to find out more about Handicap International's activity in Laos, click here.

From one of the ‘COPE’ workers, we get the phone number from Mr Phayabseng, a Prothesist & Orthotist working for Handicap International in Southern Laos, and on our way through Savannakhet we pay him a visit at the local Rehabilitation Centre. Seeing Mr Phayabseng’s workshop, it very quickly becomes clear that even a small amount of money goes a long way here:
The prothesis they produce are very basic, but nicely moulded and shaped individually for each patient, and very comfortable to wear. A lot of people come here to have their ‘wooden leg’ replaced for a moulded plastic prothesis.

08_Savannakhet Provincial Rehabilitation Center(Mar09)

(Little side note: considering that he’d lost one leg after stepping into a landmine dropped by the US, it was quite strange (or ‘funny’) to see one of the patients wearing a “Johnny Walker” advertising t-shirt, saying “Johnny Walker – Keep Walking”, covered by a camoulflage jacket with a "US Army" sticker. Very bizarre.)