On 3 December, the International Day of Persons with Disability, World Education Laos (WEL) were pleased to host a special event to promote the strength, resilience and ability of persons with disability, led by Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dana Jones, an Army helicopter pilot who lost his leg in 2002 and eight months later was back in the cockpit flying with a prosthesis. The event was attended by the newly appointed U.S Ambassador to Laos, Rena Bitter, USAID Laos Office Director Alexandria Huerta, Country Director of World Education Laos Colette McInerney, and seven Lao nationals who are living with impairment.
All participants were able share experiences about overcoming adversity with Chief Jones, making for a truly inspiring and empowering event. World Education Laos strongly believes that peer-to-peer support is one of the most powerful psychological support mechanisms for people with disability. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Dana Jones pointed out that, “It does not matter who sees us, but it does matter how we see ourselves in the mirror. Although we may not look like others, our minds and thoughts are absolutely normal or maybe even in better condition than others.”
Ambassador Bitter thanked all participants for sharing their inspirational stories and achievements regardless of their physical impairment.