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Doing, Doing, Done: Can-Do Cycle Team Dai Rides On Against Odds For HOPE Children’s Charity

Cyclist Charity Team Dai on a Mountaintop!

Laos-based international cyclist charity Team Dai including keen cyclist Ms Thu Ng from Vietnam tackle multiple challenges, raise confidence levels and much-needed funds, seeking to surpass the USD15,000 donation mark for disadvantaged children’s Hope Centre. 

Thinking of cycling, in some parts of the world, and lycra-clad road warriors and their aspirants will come to mind.

In others, perhaps a leisurely cruise down a local bike path or in a park, perhaps by a lake or riverside.

Elsewhere, this is not quite the case. In the case of developing countries like Laos, cycling is often seen as hot, old fashioned, disadvantageous and even highly dangerous.

Road safety is also a malleable concept. Drink driving too often prevails, peaking during festive seasons.

You could say being a cyclist in Laos is generally no “ride in the park”.

In fact, it can be an activity that best suits the determined.

The fairly flat Vientiane plain notwithstanding, Laos is certainly a majority mountainous country.

The quality of roads can leave a great deal wanting. Its a fact that surfacing on many a Lao thoroughfare is often in a more rustic condition than you see at the neighbors. Add a very warm, tropical climate and variable air quality as issues that impact.

 

It is also a developing nation where most folks aspire to motor vehicle ownership, cycling does not convey the status it does in more developed nations.

Cycling them puts you in close contact with all the vehicles, large and small, controlled by drivers of all levels of skill, experience, and temperament.

So why would a woman cycle?

It’s a question keen rider Ms Thu Ng knows better than most.

Growing up in neighboring Vietnam before making a home with her husband from Laos, she has been living in the capital Vientiane for some years.

"This year's Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members." Thu Ng, cyclist

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth. For me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” Ms Thu Ng

She comes up against reflexively scornful attitudes toward the humble bicycle and cyclists both on the streets and at home.
It’s positive health and social impacts are less understood.

Cycling can be seen as a dangerous activity and certainly not one for a woman, particularly wife or mother, to be engaged in.

Ms Thu Ng tackled her fourth Team Dai Challenge for charity raising some US$14,630 to date for the HOPE Center’s work.

She shared her thoughts on the ride from her perspective as a keen cyclist and woman.

“This year’s Team Dai Challenge was my fourth and for me, it was another great year of riding with like-minded and supportive Team Dai members.” 

“In the Asian culture in which I grew up, I normally get told that women should stay home and not risk their lives.

“This mindset makes it hard for us women to engage in what is seen as extreme sports or exercise.”

“But I am a real optimist and believe that the best part of life is having the freedom to do whatever you are passionate about.

“This is happiness and this is all about life.”

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Team Dai members including Ms Thu Ng

Similarly, she was drawn to the engaging aspect of making a contribution to the society of the country she calls home.

“It has been said that giving is a simple solution towards some of the world’s most complicated problems. 

“So every year, we volunteer our time and efforts to carry out Team Dai’s mission of raising funds to help our community.

“For me personally, the ability to give support and spread love is the very best part of every Team Dai challenge.”

Team Dai Cyclist Charity Efforts Fund HOPE

The recipient of this affection in 2019 is the HOPE Centre, a community outreach program launched by ARDA Language Centre Vientiane in 2006.

HOPE Centre helps over 200 children and youth who are at risk of abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking.

The center aims to serve the most vulnerable children and youth in the community to see them grow and develop in a healthy way and give them new hope for the future.

It does so by providing a safe environment where children begging on the streets, those living in slum communities and working could stop in during the day to bathe, receive medical care, a nutritious meal, general education and be involved in other activities including arts & crafts, music, sports and participate in special events.

Staff work alongside families living in poor communities to alleviate child labor and exploitation by helping them improve their livelihoods, parenting skills, and living conditions so that their children will have a suitable place to live and attend school.

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Cyclist Charity Team Dai at HOPE Center

Trauma counseling, educational therapy, and social skills development to child victims of abuse and exploitation help them address past experiences and move forward to lead productive lives.

Scholarships are also provided to help deter children from begging or being forced into other forms of child labor while providing enhanced educational opportunities.

Meanwhile, sporting activities including soccer and volleyball are used to divert children and youth from being drawn into a downward spiral including drug abuse.

Team Dai Cyclist Members in Luang Prabang

Team Dai Cyclists in Luang Prabang

Located at ARDA Language Centre in Vientiane, HOPE Centre welcomes every child, particularly the poor and vulnerable, a worthy cause Team Dai are proud to support.

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates

Team Dai Cyclist Celebrates Calf-Building Charity Efforts

Expected Roadblocks for Chinese President Arrival Nov 13-14

In preparation for Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Laos, the Vientiane Capital’s Department of Public Works and Transport has ordered roadblocks to be stationed all across the capital to ensure a safe and smooth ride for President Xi Jinping’s arrival on Monday through Tuesday (November 13-14).

Although there has been no confirmation on the specified times of when the roadblocks will be enforced, motorists should take precaution when planning their route to and from their destination in town, and should note that parking on any of these streets is strictly prohibited on these dates. Officials have released the following roads as affected:

  1. Souphanouvong Ave (from Sikay intersection to Sihom intersection)
  2. Setthathirath Road (Sihom intersection – That Khao intersection)
  3. Fa Ngum Road (That Khao – Lao Development Bank)
  4. Lane Xang Ave (Patouxay Monument – Presidential Palace)
  5. Kaison Phomvihane Ave (Patouxay – Dongdok Intersection)
  6. Samsenthai Road (That Khao – Jao Fa Ngum intersection Km2)
  7. Don Chan Road (Lao-German Technical School Intersection – Don Chan Palace Intersection)

Click here to view a map of the scheduled roadblocks.

Earlier in the week, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s book on governance was launched and released in Lao language in Vientiane. The Lao version of the book was published with the goal of assisting Lao people in learning more about the Chinese development concept, development path and both domestic and foreign policies. A Chinese official emphasized that the publication will help to promote the exchange of experiences in governance between the two parties and two countries, and will continue to bolster ties between Laos and China.

Content source: Laopost

Photo source: Tholakhong

Government Mulls Savings in Staging Visit Laos Year

Minimising the government’s financial burden when organising a national tourism event was the main topic Japanese tourism experts shared with Lao colleagues at a meeting last week.

The Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism held the workshop in Vientiane province to share experiences with Japanese experts as the country prepares to organise Visit Laos Year in 2018.

At the meeting, senior Japanese tourism expert, Mr Moriyama Akira, pointed out the government’s role in giving guidance and developing policy when organising a national tourism event while getting the private sector to take ownership, so it will fund the activities.

An official from the ministry’s Tourism Marketing Department, Mr Anousone Duangsovath, said the Japanese expert also noted even high level government officials had to get involved, such as the prime minister ,holding a press conference to highlight the tourism event.

Moreover, he said referring to the Japanese experience, aside from getting businesses to sign on for the event secretariat, the government had to persuade them of the benefits to be received by participating.

Building awareness among the general public was another important component for the successful organisation of such an event, according to Mr Anousone, who referred to the experience of Japan, which successfully arranged its tourism year in 2003.

The nation previously organised Visit Laos Years in 1999-2000 and 2012, but the two events were not organised very effectively, according to the Lao tourism official.

Tourism is the second highest ranked sector in generating income for the nation. The number of foreign visitors to the country has continually increased over the past 15 years. Tourist arrivals were around 727,000 in 2000, which generated US$113 million for the nation, while the number of arrivals reached 4.6 million last year, generating US$725 million.

Tourism has directly and indirectly attracted investment to the country for the operation of hospitality businesses, along with infrastructure development, including roads and air ports.

The country expects to receive at least 6.8 million foreign guests in 2020, and earn around US$1 billion in revenue.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

President of Ireland to Visit Laos

Irish President Michael D. Higgins will visit Laos on November 14-16 to enhance bilateral relations and cooperation between Laos and Ireland, the Presidential Palace said in a press statement.

The scheduled official visit is in response to an invitation from President Bounnhang Vorachit.

President Higgins was born on April 18, 1941, in Limerick. He studied at University College Galway, the University of Manchester and Indiana University. He was formerly a lecturer in political science and sociology at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

President Higgins is married to Sabina Higgins, and they have four children.

He was a member of Dáil Éireann for 25 years and a member of Seanad Éireann (the Irish Senate) for nine years.

Mr Higgins was elected as Lord Mayor of Galway on two occasions from 1982-1983 and 1991-1992. He became Ireland’s first Minister for the Arts in 1993-1997.

Mr Higgins has been President of Ireland since 2011.

Source: Vientiane Times

Lao Ambassador Pays Working Visit to Ha Tinh

Lao Ambassador to Vietnam Mr Thongsavanh Phomvihane and his delegation paid his two-day working visit to Ha Tinh Province of Vietnam beginning on November 1 to enhance cooperation and pay a visit to Lao students studying in Vietnam.

Mr Thongsavanh and his delegation were warmly welcomed by Mr Le Dinh Son, a member of Vietnam’s Communist Party Central Committee who is also Secretary of the Party Committee of Ha Tinh Province, and other Ha Tinh leaders.

During the cordial talks, Mr Thongsavanh thanked the leaders of Ha Tinh Province for the warm welcome they extended to him and his delegation, which was full of friendly solidarity.  He also expressed condolences over the loss of property experienced by people in the province recently due to severe flooding, but said that with the help and guidance of the Ha Tinh leaders, he expects the flood victims to have life restored to normal soon.

Ha Tinh Province has a close relationship with Lao PDR and has provided a large number of scholarships to Lao students. Currently, more than 2,000 Lao students are studying there.

Next year, the two governments will together celebrate the two historical days of 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations and the 40th anniversary of the signing of the VietnamLaosTreaty of Amity and Cooperation. The visit was considered a remarkable event to enhance the existing friendly relations between two countries.

 

Source: KPL

Lao Senior Diplomat: Duterte’s Visit to China Positive to Regional Situation

VIENTIANE, Oct. 22 — Results of the recent visit by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to China will not only benefit peoples of the two countries, but also have positive effects on regional peace and stability, a Lao senior diplomat told Xinhua during an interview in capital Vientiane. Soukthavy Keola, a former counselor at the Lao Embassy in China, said that the visit showed that the two countries are improving their bilateral relations.

“This is an opportunity, a turning point, and also an significant achievement in China’s diplomacy.”

This is the first visit of Duterte outside the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). On Friday, China and thePhilippines released a joint statement in Beijing with consensus on further enriching China-Philippines bilateral relations founded on mutual respect, sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, which is conducive to regional peace, stability and prosperity.

“China and the Philippines had witnessed some problems in bilateral relations which had impacts on the region. We were very worried about that,” he said.

“Though problems could not be solved at once, the overall development of normal relations between the two countries should not be affected. Shelving disputes and seeking common development in cases of controversies are crucial to relevant countries and the region,” Soukthavy told Xinhua on Friday.

“Now, we all focus on cooperation and seeking solutions, which has contributed to creating a friendly cooperation atmosphere in the region,” he said, adding that the bilateral relations between China and the Philippines are “back on track”, contributing to regional peace and stability.

There are huge potentials for the friendly cooperation between China and the Philippines. The two sides have many common interests in trade, economy and investment. “China and the Philippines are both developing countries and neighbors. Strengthening bilateral cooperation is mutually beneficial and will have positive influence on cooperation between China and ASEAN countries.”

Soukthavy also expressed his hope that the trend of friendly relations between China and the Philippines will be continuously maintained.

Source: Xinhua

Deputy PM Pays Working Visit to Savannakhet and Khammuan

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Sonexay Siphandone and his delegation recently paid a working visit to Savannakhet and Khammuan provinces, advising authorities to continue maintaining political stability and paying attention to socio-economic development.

Obama’s Visit to Laos a Watershed Moment for L.A.’s Lao Community

Last week, Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to visit the nation of Laos in Southeast Asia, when he attended an economic summit in the capital city of Vientiane.