All posts filed under: Community

UN expert: Laos’ approach ‘destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability’

Laos’ economic and poverty alleviation approach is counterproductive to its impoverished population’s health and puts their rights at risk, according to a scathing preliminary report by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston, which was recorded live for the first time. Alston delivered the report at the UN House in Vientiane Thursday after investigating the human rights of people in poverty in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. The report includes the status of rural children, women and ethnic minorities, environmental issues and climate change, the role of foreign investment and infrastructure projects, access to social support, education and healthcare, and more. Alston acknowledged the government’s progress in reducing poverty, such as lowering the number of those living below the poverty line in half, but said its methods to grow the economy have “destroyed livelihoods, entrenched vulnerability, and actually made some people poorer by taking away their access to lands, livelihoods, and resources.” Almost 1/4 of the population lives in poverty and an estimated 80 percent lives at risk of poverty, according to the report. The UN expert …

Podcast aims to heal Lao community through conversation

Rita Phetmixay wants you to make your mental health a priority. As a self-described politicized healing practitioner, educator, filmmaker and storyteller, Phetmixay aims to create a space for the Lao diaspora to heal through her new podcast, “Healing Out Lao’d.” With this project, Phetmixay said she wants to raise awareness of Lao American stories of intergenerational healing and resilience, provide a place to process grief and destigmatize the idea of asking for help. “I’m hoping that people can finally say, ‘Hey, I’m not weak for asking for support and I’m not weak for being soft or being in my feelings or being sensitive. I’m not weak for seeking therapy or whatever healing avenue works for me,’” Phetmixsay said. ‘”I am strong, I deserve to be healed and I deserve to have access to it.’” Phetmixay was inspired to create the podcast under the mentorship of actress, director and writer Kulap Vilaysack, who also founded Laos Angeles, a community of Lao people in media and entertainment. Phetmixay said she noticed a narrative of trauma surrounded the …