One Voice for LaosOne Voice for Laos
One Voice for Laos
November 18, 2012
Without Your Help, This Couldn't Happen


What follows is a touching update from Andrew Brown at the Deak Kum Pa orphanage. Thank you SO much to everyone who has helped make this possible.

"Hello everyone. Warm greetings from Luang Prabang.

All the children are now back from their 3-month break and the new children are slowly coming in to the orphanage every day in groups of 3-5.

As many of you will know already, we will have 75 new students this year. Many of them will be coming in under a special program that I agreed to with the government late last year.

Most of them arrive with only the clothes that they are wearing, so I buy them shorts, shirts, underwear, and shoes.

The sponsored students are all quite young and are 6, 7, and 8 years old. The program was initiated in order to bring in the most needy children and to protect them at an age when they are most vulnerable.


The school now caters to 600 children and I will continue to increase these numbers as we progress.

The orphanage is a government orphanage, but with little funds, the food, hygiene and medical support is quite poor so my projects have been aimed at adding support in these areas.

This year we will supply three eggs per child, per week, meat three times per week, fruit six times per week and breakfast every day including one meal of nutritious kowpia. We will also give toothpaste and soap every three weeks and toothbrushes every 3 - 4 months.

I now pay for all the medical and dental costs, as this makes getting the kids treated much more efficient. I also cover all the maintenance and new building projects and have started the scholarship and work programs to help the children graduating from the orphanage school.

The new children's program is in its first year and I hope to continue this through many more years.

I have already started this year's maintenance program and the electric bill, alone, will be over $1,000 to replace all the broken fans and lights and to re-fit the new kitchen extension with lights and fans.

I am presently enrolling last year's graduates into college and I now oversee more than 70 scholarships.

We will also put some graduates to work under our jobs program where we support them in Luang Prabang and help them with food and accommodations until they find suitable work.

This year, we are lucky to have a volunteer English Teacher for a full year. Lae is a young German woman who will be working with the Lao teachers to improve their skills.

I have found that all the graduates who have learned English find it quite easy to get work -- so English is a great attribute to have when

We have two medical doctors visiting in November and we will continue to build the medical records of all the children.

I also hope to have a dentist visit early next year to continue our dental program.

We will continue to improve conditions at the orphanage and I have ordered chairs and bookcases for the new library. I expect the new library to be finished in November and I will also be building a new
art room in the next few months.

Our goal is to provide facilities for the young children to express
themselves through art and supply equipment and paints on a continual basis.

The kitchen expansion is now finished, but is still quite crowded when all 600 kids pour into the room at lunch and dinner. It makes for a wonderful spectacle seeing the children working together to serve each others' meals.

Although the orphanage is my main project, La and I also support many village families who live in very poor conditions. Presently we support about 40 families and hope to increase the numbers to over 100 by the end of next year.

These families are quite desperate and often a medical or financial
problem leaves their children in very dangerous circumstances, often without food and clean water.

Our support is simple. We pay to send all the children to school and supply rice and eggs every month to help with nutrition and basic food needs.

Our most valuable resource is La's phone number so they can call us when they have a medical or financial crisis.

I also plan to start supporting Numbuk orphanage which is 2.5 hours from Luang Prabang and is home to 450 children. Not all are orphans there, but many children go to this school because their families
cannot afford to feed them. This school will grow to more than 600 children in the next three years, so I am hoping to receive financing to build extra dormitories and will initiate a food and hygiene program at the school.

Many of the new children coming to the orphanage are quite happy, but some are very shy, particularly with a foreigner (me) interviews them.

Most of them have never have seen or spoken to a foreigner in their lives!

These are very beautiful children and I am often humbled that I can make such a positive contribution in their lives. Of course this could never happen without the support of everyone receiving this update. So thank you all!"

Kind regards

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 10:25 AM | Comments (0)

November 17, 2012
Isabelle La Motte on One Voice for Laos


Inspiring and touching One Voice for Laos bio by Isabelle La Motte....

Being a part of One Voice for Laos has been the most rewarding time of my life. I first got involved in the Spring of 2011 when Rachel Castellano told me that there was a humanitarian effort going on right in our backyard, the town of Woodstock. When I agreed to join One Voice for Laos: Teens for Change I never could have imagined the impact it would have on my life.

My first project was to create a slide show to be shown at our fund raising events. My job quickly developed into being in charge of all things photography. I had my camera around my neck at all of our events and meetings, nothing out of the ordinary for me. As the weeks went on I dove further into the project. I remember getting chills at the first meeting when Evelyne told us how our fundraising efforts would help the children. From that moment I knew that this was something I was going to put my heart and soul into for the months to come.

The project took off and I felt privileged to be along for the ride.
Since the beginning we had hoped to actually fly over to Laos and meet the children we had been supporting. This dream quickly became reality, by May our flights were booked and on June 25th we boarded our plane to embark on our journey to Laos! When we arrived at the orphanage all I saw were smiles. These children have nothing and are the happiest people I’ve ever met. It made me take a step back and think about how lucky I have it in America and how appreciative I should be for that.
Being a part of One Voice for Laos has taught me an infinite amount of things. For one, I have become more outgoing as a person. Before this project I got nervous talking in front of a class and by the end I was talking in front of an auditorium filled with people. I have also learned more about planning events and working with others. Most importantly I have learned that helping those less fortunate is the best feeling in the world. If I was asked to explain what it feels like I wouldn’t be able to, it’s not exactly a feeling one can describe. Instead I would say, get out there and experience it for your self! It’s a feeling you’ll never forget.
This fall I started the next chapter in my life. I am now a student at the University of Vermont. Although I am four hours away from our headquarters in Woodstock I try my best to stay up to date on the project and promote upcoming events. The project comes up in conversation more than one might expect (okay, maybe I bring it up a lot. But who can blame a girl for wanting to tell everyone about the experience of a lifetime?) I have shown my new friends, and even one of my professors, our documentary. This project has inspired me to help others whenever I have the opportunity.
One Voice for Laos changed my life forever. Not only did I get to travel abroad with three of my best friends before we all parted ways for college, I got to help 600 orphans in an impoverished country and give them opportunities they might not have had otherwise. That’s the best way to spend a year and a half if you ask me.

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 08:10 AM | Comments (0)

Emily Waligurski on One Voice for Laos


My name is Emily Waligurski. I am a senior at Onteora High School. I'm a passionate runner and I am on the track and cross country team at my school. In my future I would like to pursue a career in Biology.

For now I focus most of time and energy on school, running, and the One Voice for Laos project. I really became involved in the project when my friend Kelly Ambrosch and I took the responsibility of planning the first event this year, Loop for Laos. The event was very successful! We are very excited to see that so many people and businesses in the community have been so supportive of our cause.

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 08:06 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2012
Rachel Castellano on One Voice For Laos


Rachel castellano wrote the piece below about her experiences with One Voice for Laos and her reasons for being involved with One Voice for Laos. Rachel, the author of this heart-warming piece, is pictured here with Wanalee, an orphan from Laos......

I joined One Voice for Laos with the intention of doing what I could to help
children across the world. I had no idea I would actually travel there, and experience
something that would truly change my life.

What started out as a fun project with
my friends, turned into a huge part of my life that I'm incredibly passionate about.
It's hard to contemplate the amount of things I've learned from the
experiences I've had with One Voice for Laos. Not only was I able to travel to Asia
and immerse myself in an unfamiliar culture while making long-lasting connections
with the most amazing children I've ever met, I gained confidence and experience in
organizing and carrying out fundraisers back at home.

The other teenagers who I traveled with would agree that it was just as eye
opening to see the differences between the kids at the Deak Kum Pa orphanage and
us, as it was to see the similarities. They loved sports and hanging out with their
friends. I had conversations with them that could have easily been with an American
teenager. The part of them I will remember forever was how happy they were. They
smiled and laughed the same amount, if not more than American kids who have
their own room, good food, clean clothes, and the latest electronics.
I'm proud to say that I helped raise money for these children who I would say
I look up. By our fundraising efforts, they were able to obtain healthier and more
nutritious food. This project showed me that a small group of concerned citizens is
enough to make a difference. This gave me hope that although there is a lot of evil
and unfairness in the world, there are a lot of wonderful, capable people out there to
fix it. They just have to find the desire and will power to do so.

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 05:54 PM | Comments (0)

November 12, 2012
Caleb Rudge on One Voice For Laos!

Extremely inspiring piece written by Caleb Rudge about One Voice For Laos.
Caleb is pictured here with Kum Seng, an orphan from Laos.


One Voice for Laos has impact. Like a stone thrown into a pond, the rippling effects move out in all directions. By bringing teenagers out of their comfort zone, One Voice For Laos kindles potential within teenagers that would otherwise be lost to society's effort to convince everyone that it's good to blend in.
While teenagers are being empowered, children over 10,000 miles away reap the rewards of additional resources provided by the teenagers of One Voice For Laos. In Laos I recognized that the influence our fundraising had much more value than the dollars themselves. A smile from a healthy child is worth million bucks.

Just as the growing bodies of the orphans are being nourished, the entire community of One Voice For Laos is cultivated through compassion and humanitarianism. A generation of Orphans is given opportunities otherwise unattainable and a small yet envigorated community in the rural catskill mountains recognizes that it is part of a global economy of fellowship.

I'm in college now and I'm still perplexed by the influence One Voice For Laos has had on me. The hope and direction instilled in me while being apart of such a generous project carries me through even the toughest moments. Anyone who looks at the cover of a newspaper these days knows that its not an easy planet to exist on. The commensalistic relationships we have often taken for granted seem to be dissolving into chaos. Any youth in America knows that he or she will have a harder time living the same lifestyle as his or her parents due to the increasing pressures on decreasing resources.
One Voice For Laos has given me conviction that each and every human being is capable of leading in positive ways. I also know that no matter what my future has in store for me, there is a community of people I can rely on to help pick me up when I fall and pat me on my back when I succeed. In One Voice For Laos I have confidence, for confidence is what One Voice For Laos has given me.

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 08:20 PM | Comments (0)

November 11, 2012
Meet KongLee and Seng Song



KongLeeand Seng Song are young men living in Laos who have been provided with a wonderful opportunity, all because of One Voice for Laos. Evelyne Pouget and Hudson Talbott are sponsoring these talented teenagers to go to art school and to live in town outside of the orphanage.

This situation shows how One Voice for Laos has changed the lives of these orphans. A little hard work can go a long way and impact children's lives in ways that one can not imagine. I strongly encourage all of you to get involved with this project and help send more orphans to school! One Voice for Laos truly ROCKS!

Posted by Cassandra Hastie at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

One Voice Global is a humanitarian aide organization, based in Woodstock. Our mission is to help Hudson Valley teenagers develop the kind of mindset, skills, and abilities they need to become compassionate humanitarians, social activists and global citizens. We accomplish our goal by improving the lives of orphans and other children in need through fundraising projects, cultural exchange, and onsite service visits to the organizations we serve.

Our Mission
Intro Slide Show
The Documentary