One Voice for LaosOne Voice for Laos
Deak Kum Pa Orphanage
February 22, 2014
GOOD NEWS! Laos Orphanage Update

Andrew and girls.JPGThis just in from Andrew Brown, One Voice Global's contact at the Deak Kum Pah orphanage in Laos.

"As we explore the villages around Luang Prabang, we continue to find so many beautiful places. The Lao people living in these areas are virtually all farmers, living hand to mouth as they have for several years.

We can quickly assess the poverty in these areas simply by talking with their children. They are always happy, but their malnutrition is always evident beyond their warm smiles. Most of our new projects will focus on helping the poor children in these villages.

Our three orphanage schools will always be our priority, as they are home to almost 1,800 children and we can provide support through long- term projects that can be maintained for several years. However, these schools are now so full that we must turn to our village projects to support the children that need our help desperately.

One of our goals is to build a new orphanage that will provide for these children. We are presently in discussions with the government to forward this project.

The last year has been an incredibly busy year and we were able to make many significant improvements.


In 2013, we built two dormitories at Numbuk, a school and art room at Luang Prabang, and two dormitories and three shower blocks at Suan Luang. These projects greatly improved the living conditions for the children across all three orphanages.

Although capital projects are relatively expensive, they provide children with a safe and clean environment in which to grow and prosper.

The two new dormitories at Numbuk have helped facilitate another 90 children attending the school in 2013. An additional 90 children will come to Numbuk in 2014, bringing the total number of children to 590.

Our two Australian doctors visited again in December and consulted for four days at Luang Prabang and one day at Suan Luang. We also had a doctor and dentist visit, in April, and a further dental visit in November. We continue to find many serious untreated dental problems, however we are now getting all of these children treated after examination.

Many children had presented continuously to the orphanage nurse with medical problems so we prioritized these children when our doctors visited. The sad truth is that most were in the youngest three classes with poor health due to several years of malnourishment in their villages.

One pleasing aspect is that as children spend longer at the orphanage, their health improves considerably, due to the better quality of food, clean drinking water, and medical supervision.

Presently, we are investigating a girl from Numbuk with a deformed eye and hope to treat her this year in Changmai (Thailand). The cost will be about $2000 and we will proceed if she agrees to treatment. We also have a young man at Suan Luang who has a similar health issue and may hopefully treat him at the same hospital.


We completed our first full year of support at Numbuk (presently 503 children) and Suan Luang (630 children) by providing four full meals a week at both schools and now breakfast two times per week at Suan Luang.


These schools are quite remote, and consequently maintaining the integrity of our programs becomes more difficult. We now have dedicated staff for these schools and they physically transport the food from Luang Prabang and prepare the food in their kitchens. This ensures that we can monitor our support closely ensuring that 100% of our food gets to the kids.

Water filter systems are in place now at all three orphanages, providing clean and safe drinking water for the children and has helped enormously with countering the high incidence of diarrhea and stomach complaints.

Our scholarship program offers the orphanage graduates the most significant opportunity of their lives. Without the support of a scholarship, most children have no option but to return to their poor villages, unemployed and, often, an extra burden on their villages.

We can address the issues of poverty while the children are at the orphanage school, but if they are forced to return to their villages after schooling, then we haven't broken the cycle of poverty. We have merely intervened for a period in their lives.

When students are supported with a scholarship, they can gain entry to university and colleges in Luang Prabang. Most importantly, they will be granted government jobs, many in teaching, and will be able to earn a salary for the rest of their lives. A scholarship significantly increases the chances of an orphanage child having a successful life after the orphanage school.

Orphan painter.JPG

This year, we currently support 125 students on full scholarships and, in 2013, we supported over 100 graduates from Suan Luang on working scholarships.

The orphanage school has 62 graduates this year and we hope to support them all into tertiary education. Most students in the program are supported by individual donors and the students write back to their sponsors every two months to inform them of their progress.

The cost of a scholarship is $670 per year and the courses are 2-4 years long. We also want to support as many children as possible on working scholarships, which cost $350.

If you or your friends can help support a graduate on our scholarship program, please email me at and I will send out information packages. Support for this program, on any level, will be very much appreciated and will make a huge difference in the lives of these children.

We now supply soap and toothpaste every three weeks across all three orphanages, as well as toothbrushes every four months. We hope to maintain these programs every year.

We have recently drilled a well at Suan Luang to improve the water quantity and quality for the children. Previously the children would have to bath in the river but with the three new shower blocks and new water supply, the children can now shower close to their dormitories in much safer conditions.

We are presently treating all the young girls at Luang Prabang for head lice which sometimes becomes a problem when the kids return from their villages. We are several weeks into our treatment program and will need to continue for another few weeks.


We are continuing support of families in Ban Hart Hien and have started support programs in Ban Hoi On (200 children) and Ban Hoi Mut (120 children) in Chompet District.

Our programs are for all children under 10 years of age and we will supply milk times per week for each child, pay 70% of all hospitalizations, provide supplements for newborns and their mothers, and provide clothing for all of the children. We will also initiate water projects where necessary and supply school supplies such as text books, pens, and writing books.

Gaining government agreements to help these villages is a mind-numbingly, bureaucratic process. However, we are now well advanced with our approvals and will be starting help for another two villages in Chompet District within the next two months.

I have now created my own website at and this covers all our projects. If people wish to help with our projects, please refer them to this site or they can email me at

La and I married in November, 2013. La is expecting our first child in August this year so we are preparing for an exciting year ahead.

After working with Lao children for the last SIX years, I often reflect on the people who help make a difference in the lives of poor children.

Very little support comes through First World Governments. They do not strive to eradicate poverty in third world countries. Instead they set up token organizations to work in Third World countries. While some of then do achieve good outcomes, most squander their wealth on plush offices and four wheel drives.

The kind people who fund my projects are remarkably different to the government organizations.

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Most are generous people just trying to make a difference in the world. They are seldom known to the children and their support may be just a few dollars, while others can help on a more significant scale, such as dormitory funding, food program support, or scholarship support.

What matters most is that they have taken the time to help, that they can share our vision of eradicating poverty, and that they have reached out to touch the lives of these children in some positive way.

Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at February 22, 2014 09:58 AM

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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.

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