In May 2004, Mr. Sounthone was clearing upland rice fields with his wife’s relatives in Xieng Khouang province when his machete struck a cluster bomblet that was near the base of a small tree. The bomblet exploded, damaging his left hand and right leg. His left hand was amputated below the elbow, and he lost several toes on his right foot.
Since the accident, Mr. Sounthone and his first wife got a divorce, and he has since moved to a new district and remarried. He and his second wife now have two children. Their primary source of income is paddy rice farming, but they do not produce enough to eat for the whole year. Mr. Sounthone supplements the family’s income from rice farming by cutting firewood to sell, and the family also grows some vegetables to sell. Despite these efforts, their family economic situation is still unstable.
In May 2015, in collaboration with Government of Laos counterparts at the Xieng Khouang Provincial Rehabilitation Centre and the Xieng Khouang Provincial Hospital, World Education’s Victim Assistance and Support Team (VAST) selected Mr. Sounthone as a recipient for a livestock grant, supported by Union Aid Abroad APHEDA. Mr. Sounthone and his family were very pleased to receive the grant, with which they have purchased a cow and her calf. Before receiving the livestock grant, Mr. Sounthone attended an animal raising training and a financial literacy training organized by the Quality of Life Association. VAS team members will continue to monitor his progress with his new livestock.