Village Director Champasack SOS Children's Villages in Laos
Prepare each child best for a good future
I joined SOS Children’s Village Pakse, the second SOS Children’s Village among 6 villages in Laos in 1996. I started my work as a village director and later as project director for SOS Children’s Village Champasak.
The decision to join SOS Children’s Villages was a decision of my heart: I love to work with and for people, to establish relationships and work in a team.
When I look back at the beginning of our SOS Children’s Village I must say I had to do various tasks round the clock. My primary responsibility was to take care of our children. Besides this as a residential co-worker, as a person in charge, I joined my hands with our SOS mothers, all of our co-workers, and involved myself in looking after the children to ensure that they get better care in the SOS Children’s Village.
In this work period I gained a lot of experiences like learning to trust myself and others. I learned to love and manage life crises. I found a way into a “normal life“, because of these beneficial experiences of reliable relationships and friendships. That fills my heart with gratefulness and the reasonable hope that also in the future, children at risk and their families will find the helping hands and feeling hearts they need - as I have gotten.
I am managing and monitoring all village activities in line with the SOS organisation’s concept and Laos’ laws in the best interests of the children to ensure that all of our children live and continue to study in a child-friendly environment.
Being a village director, project director, I must stay in the SOS Children’s Village campus for 24 hours. Even on a day off, I do not go out of the village. Therefore, when I have a free time, I play badminton, table tennis, and volleyball, sometimes football with our SOS mothers, SOS aunts, co-workers and children. I enjoy sharing my experiences about my work in order to help us to easily work together.
For over 20 years we have provided support to orphaned and semi-orphaned children – in total 1,075 children (300 children from SOS Children’s Village Pakse) of which 225 young children (36 children from SOS Children’s Villages Pakse) are studying in higher education institutions and 6 young children (2 children from SOS Children’s Villages Pakse) study in China and Vietnam and one does a job training in Israel.
377 young people (113 from SOS Children’s Villages Pakse) have been integrated into society of which 70 (40 from SOS Children’s Villages Pakse) have now got their own family. The majority of the children who finished their bachelor’s degree in the past years have worked e.g. as teachers, electrical engineers, soldiers, policemen, government officers, tourism guides, civil engineers.
490 scholarship students are being supported through our family strengthening programmes and 196 students have already completed their secondary level from our SOS Hermann Gmeiner Schools.
The temporary care was initially run in 2005 in one of our villages as a pilot project and could be extended to two more SOS Children’s Villages. Until now we have supported 1,171 malnourished kids who are now in a satisfying healthy status.
The SOS Medical Centre is one of our attached projects which started to run in 2004 and provided free first aid not only for SOS mothers and children but also for people from community as well. Since it operated, 52,353 people have come to use our services.
Laos is my home country where I grew up and learned the way of my life. It has given me lots of things. So I try to make my contribution on the basis of my experiences that I gathered by being part of SOS Children’s Village or the society. I keep sharing my ideas and views for better care, nourishment and uplift of children who are in need.
Bouakhay “Boua” Keophoxay
is Village Director in Champasack at SOS Children's Villages in Laos.
I started my professional life as mathematics and physics teacher in a teacher training college in Pakse. In 1996 I joined SOS Children’s Villages in Pakse as the village director. When I look back at that beginning time, I must say, we had to do various tasks round the clock. As village director, I was responsible for managing and monitoring, in the best interests of the child, all village activities in line with SOS Children’s Villages’ concept and Laos’s laws. At the same time, as a residential co-worker, I joined hands with our SOS mothers and other co-workers in looking after the children to ensure that they get better care in the SOS Children’s Village.
I am married. My wife and I are blessed with three diversely successful daughters. While our daughters now live independently in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, my wife and I live in the SOS Children’s Village in Pakse. The conditions of my own childhood in a family of nine, and the goodwill of my parents in seeing that the best come out of us, instilled in me courage, determination and resilience. Moreover, I learnt to appreciate people, be content with what I have, appreciate nature and what it has to offer.
Those virtues from my childhood conditions form the foundation of my social and cultural networking as well as the passion to keep sharing my ideas and views for the better care and uplift of children who are in need.
Badminton, table tennis, volleyball, football: These are some of the free time activities I enjoy with our SOS mothers, aunts, co-workers and children in the village. Exercises as these deepen understanding and joy thereby help us to easily work together all the more.