Lao village affected by mudslides

January 2018 Update

A second disaster struck Namguan between December 20-22, 2017: a freak frost that iced the crops. What was growing mostly died; only very little was salvageable.

An already weakened community is now facing famine.
Many villagers had already taken out a one-time loan to restore their seeds after the first disaster.

What is needed most at this time for these subsistence farmers is a grant to purchase immediate food supplies as well as seeds for crop renewal.

Our target now is to provide half of the crop replacment fund ($6500) ASAP which would bring us to an overall funding goal of $11500 .

Thank you for your continued support!

Northern farms turn to ice as frost hits


Dear Supporters,

Flash flooding and mudslides have devastated the home village, Namguan, of our Lao friend, Yoth(*).  We created this page in hopes of supporting him, his family and more than 600 other villagers in surviving this tragedy and rebuilding their humble lives.

Heavy rains  on August 3-4, 2017 led to unprecedented flooding and mudslides all over Northern Laos. The villagers of Namguan, including Yoth's elderly and medically-compromised parents, left with the clothes on their backs and what they could carry up the mountainside to find safety in basic huts/shelters. Parts of roads and bridges were completely washed away so they had to improvise by building hand-made bamboo ladders. Mud covers everything they wear.
Namguan is a remote village of approximately 150 families located in the North part of Oudomxay province and, as such, is pretty much the last priority for the already overburdened government. They've already been advised they're on their own for the time being.
The village had a water system previously donated by the government but it has been damaged.  The villagers are boiling extremely dirty water for consumption.  It's tolerable but definitely not ideal for anyone, especially the very old and young.
Everyone is a sustenance farmer so when their rice and vegetable fields are damaged or completely destroyed, it means not having enough food to last until the next harvest. There is no farm insurance in the country; and there are no grocery stores for food or pharmacies for medicine anywhere even close to the village.
A village vehicle was purchased a few years ago so that people could transport goods in and out without having to  wait for the one occasional transport vehicle to arrive on a weekly basis, but now that truck is destroyed.
The flooding is only just starting to subside and villagers have yet to assess the full extent of damages and losses.

It takes a village to help a village:
The people of Namguan are definitely resilient and determined to survive. Please help them endure, restore their village's losses, and ease their way to the next successful harvest through your generous support.  We are raising money to fund the village's most immediate needs expressed by the village council: medical supplies, water system, crop seeds, and school supplies.  

- The immediate needs and wants of the 600 villagers are listed below.  Our fundraising goal would cover only the village's most critical needs.  The more you donate, the easier it will be for the people of Namguan to survive and recover hope for the future.
- Costs are estimated to the best of our knowledge and will be updated as better assessments are made by village leaders when they can return to the village
- Unit costs (ea) are multiplied by a portion of the 600 villagers or 150 homes where applicable

Immediate Needs (as confirmed by the Village Council upon their return to NamGuan):
- Medication & hospital supplies [$6000]
- Repair water system [$1000]
- Rice and other crop seeds ($200 per field x 65) [$13000]
- School supplies ($600 per month x 6) [$3600] 

Additional Wants:
- Cooking pots, dishes, utensils [$500]
- Tools for cleaning up mud [$600] 
- Replace weaving looms, typically located under each stilt home for making fabric [$900 ea x 75) [$67500]
- Replace village vehicle [$10000]

Distribution of Funds:
All funds received will be initially managed by Eugene and Janna in Canada.  We have set up a separate bank account to ensure that all donations are handled most responsibly.  

As supply routes reopen, funds will be transferred to Yoth in Vientiane, Laos via Western Union. The funds will be managed from a separate bank account there as well. (We are not doing direct bank transfers so as to avoid significant and redundant administration fees. This we learned by experience.) Yoth is working closely with the head villagers and village team leaders on how to best distribute the funds and/or supplies purchased with the funds to the villagers of NamGuan. 

We will keep records of how donated money has been used to the best of our abilities.  Any surplus funds will be contributed for the villagers' additional needs. Above and beyond that, funds will be donated to local relief organizations, such as the Lao Red Cross ( .

Some supporters have inquired about donating outside of GoFundMe. Yes, this is entirely possible!  Please send us a private message and we will make the necessary arrangements. Thank you for your consideration!

Funds for the initial emergency recover package will be delivered as as soon as supply routes to NamGuan are repaired and there is access to the village.  

Yoth's older brother will provide photos so that our supporters can see the impact of their generosity on restoring the lives of the people of Namguan. 

Related Links:
Flood kills 2 in Northern Laos

Deadly floods hit northern Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia

Nepal: Death toll rises to 70 after floods, landslides (related storm)

(*) Additional Information:
Yoth is a family friend that Janna met during her travels to South East Asia in 2003.  His passion to pursue a post-secondary education despite coming from a less privileged economic background was what inspired Janna, myself and a small group of friends to found what is now Foundation for Youth Rights to Education (FYRE-Canada ) with the purpose of expanding the reach of global education opportunities.  

In 2006, Janna and I travelled to Laos, where we had the profound experience of being whole-heartedly welcomed by Yoth's family and fellow villagers, where we were educated in a whole different way of Being.  We found a refreshing sense of honest, humble living and genuine kindness within the beautiful forested village of Namguan.  We are deeply saddened by what has befallen this hospitable village and hope that, with your generous support, we can help everyone there in some way.

Sincerely and with much gratitude,
Eugene & Janna So


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Eugene So 
Calgary, AB
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