Recharging emotional and spiritual batteries on a regular basis helps us all to be more observant, thankful and balanced. International social work is one of the many ways to do this. From helping to build or supply schools, to assisting in developing models for building financial support of marginalized groups, this recharges our batteries.
In April 2014 we visited with human services and counseling organizations serving the people of Northern Malaysia. We were impressed with the level of skill and commitment of all, especially the students and interns. Here, Julieann mugs with social services students in Georgetown, Penang.
Medikur Village, Rural India
This is a Hmong Village located about 200 Kilometers northwest of Luang Prabang, Peoples Democratic Republic of Laos. We had the good fortune to work with these gentle villagers to build sanitation systems for the school. These Hmong are among those who sided with the Americans during the “Secret” war in Laos, and as a result have been marginalized by the ruling regime.
Hmong Mountain Village
The children of the school were fun and playful. Here Julieann is distributing supplies. It began rather orderly but then got a little out of control.
Kingdom of Cambodia
We had a fascinating time at the Siem Reap school working with the teachers, teachers aides and their students. The children had eyes as big as the nearby lake. This was a school needs assessment and supply mission in the Kingdom of Cambodia.
Democratic Republic of Vietnam
We trekked high in the mountains above Lao Cai to visit the Hmong of Vietnam, just outside Sa-Pa and near the southern border of mainland China. Here we met this young boy, alone miles from anywhere, herding a group of water buffalo to market.
Luang Prabang, Laos
These playful children attend the village school just a quarter mile down from the Mekong River in Luang Prabang in Northern Laos. They loved soccer, and their idea of what the school needed was “more soccer balls”
SaPa Northernmost Vietnam
A Benefit of travel to this area is the shopping!
In a Cambodian Classroom
This is an example of the typical Cambodian classroom in rural areas. While cities benefit from somewhat greater resources, the rural schools generally have little more than a chalkboard
Items such as pencils, pens, notebooks, learning toys, reading materials in various languages, toothbrushes, first aid supplies are all needed.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Julieann playing word games and telling stories with enthusiastic children. These children enjoyed making photographs of themselves and their friends to share with their parents
Understanding industrial arts of the Hmong requires going “all-in”
Dinner with the Village Elders, Laos
After a long and productive time with Liter Silatikoun (on our second visit to Laos), his village elders invited us into their home for a feast and traditional Baci ceremony to commemorate our return to Laos
Here we are being introduced by Pich Sauvrin to the teachers, administrators and children at the Airport Road School. Study supplies and equipment to launch organized competitive sports with neighboring villages became the thrust of our work here.
A Good Friend in Laos
Liter Silautikoun and Julieann talk over ways to build upon early successes high in the Laotian jungle
Sunrise with the Monks. These monks retrieve their entire day’s supply of food from the town’s people at 5:30 a.m. each day. And while “sticky rice” is highly preferred, we noticed they enjoyed a candy bar too!
Tonle Sap, Cambodia
This is the common method of transportation from home to school for the students of Tonle Sap. The school is built on pontoons and tree trunks to protect from the monsoon rise of the lake.
Black Hmong of SaPa, Vietnam
We met by accident, by simply bumping into Paj and Mia while exiting an alleyway. They became friends and we were fortunate enough to learn a good deal about the roles and responsibilities of young people in Furthest North Vietnam. They had a particular dislike of the “wife market” where young men go to select a wife.