On November 25, Handicap International staff, government ministers, and local authorities in Laos gathered in Chao Anouvong Park, in Vientiane, to celebrate 20 years of action in the country. At the event, Handicap International shared photos, videos, and a performance that highlighted the impact made from 20 years of dedicated work.
During the event, Benoit Couturier, director of Handicap International in Laos stated: “I would like to thank all of our partners, particularly the Laotian government, the European Union, the Belgian and Australian aid services, USAID, and other donors who help Handicap International improve the lives of people with disabilities. I would also like to thank our staff members for their commitment, expertise, and determination.”
Our work in Laos
More than 50 years after the US Air Force dropped its first bombs on Laos during the Vietnam War, it remains the country most heavily polluted by cluster munition remnants, which have killed and maimed more than 50,000 people since 1964. Since 2006, Handicap International has cleared more than 37.5 million sq. ft. of land and destroyed some 24,000 explosive remnants of war in Laos. We also raise public awareness of the dangers from these weapons and sub-munitions through risk education.
In addition to weapons clearance and risk education, Handicap International helps prevent the onset of disabilities in children under five by providing parents with information on high-risk pregnancies and raising community awareness of the stigmas placed on people with disabilities.
In addition, we teach children about road safety: “Road accidents are one of the leading causes of disability in the world, and we don’t talk about them enough,” explains Benoit Couturier. “Handicap International launched its first road safety activities in Laos and Vietnam. Today, we’re proud to run road safety projects in 16 countries where we work.”
Handicap International also helps people with disabilities find work or set up a micro-business and improves the case-management of people in need of rehabilitation care. We train disabled people’s organizations to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.