Lao youth reaches for the starsSep 18, 2017
Following your dreams in life takes courage and persistence. The courage to spell out what your heart wishes, to find a way forward, a strategy to make it work, no matter what it takes. The persistence to just keep going, to never lose focus, to shake off doubts and overcome sudden obstacles – until one day, your dream becomes reality.
Successful Lao young people and those who are on the way to achieving their dreams gathered in Vientiane for an evening of inspiration to discuss what it means to have a goal, and what it takes to achieve it. The event, titled “Future in Focus: What’s your goal?” provided an opportunity for Lao youth to meet some of their role-models, passionate Lao personalities, coming from diverse backgrounds, who are successfully pursuing their dreams, and to hear their stories towards the stars. The event attracted around 150 people.
The tone for the discussion was set by the premiere of the United Nations in Lao PDR’s new film “This is Development: The Sustainable Development Goals in Lao PDR”. The captivating film shows how the people of Lao PDR commit to their vision of a sustainable future and gives credit to the role each of them plays in shaping their village, city and country into a better place.
The Sustainable Development Goals are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity, with the target date of 2030.
“I became a kickboxer because I wanted to be a role model for others and inspire people to follow their dreams”, noted Ms. Daomayouly Chanthilath, aka Dee Sao Lao, an 18-year old kickboxing champion and protagonist of the film.
Another interesting panelist, Ms. Seuth Maninta is a community radio host from the Ta-oi ethnic group, living in Thateng district, Xekong Province. UNDP-supported Community Radio stations across six provinces in Lao PDR broadcast in eight ethnic languages, sharing information to villagers in remote areas of the country. The stations are entirely run by volunteers from the communities, a diverse bunch of inspired, mostly young people, eager to learn and contribute their time and energy. Seuth delivers programmes in Lao and Ta-oi languages.
Mr. Ekkasith Silichack, a 23-year-old writer of the bestselling book ‘Think like a businessman’ started earning money working at the stock exchange, and realised that his mission is to teach Lao youth to make smart investments, foremost by believing in themselves and their dreams.
Ms. Alexandra Bounxouei, Lao pop star and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, shared her secret for keeping motivated despite failures: discipline. Her family of musicians helped her in staying focused on her daily practice, leading to success.
Mr. Khatthaphone Tamongxoumuangxai was a member of a Lao team that participated in a robot competition in the USA, ranking Laos 28th out of 157 countries. He believes that finding out our purpose in life is the first hurdle to success. Once we know what we want, hard work, focus and constant learning will pave the way to the achievement of our dreams.
“It takes courage to go for your goal”, says Mr. Sanva Saephan, Founder of the Yaonoy Language Centre, “I had to leave my hometown in Bokeo, as I realised that I want to live a different life when my friend became a victim of drugs. Now I am proud of my Centre and the books that I have published”.
By listening to stories of how these inspiring women and men became aware of their talents and started striving for excellence, the young audience was encouraged to think of their own ways to make a difference and shape a sustainable future for themselves and their community.
“Dreams come true when you not only talk about them, but take action. Let this be your first action on your path towards success”, said Mr. Sanva Saephan, summarising the evening.
The event provided an opportunity for youth to ask questions and reflect on their own dreams and voice them publicly. One of the participants, member of the Lao Youth Union, Mr. Khanxay Vanthavong had a powerful message to all: “My dream is a prosperous future for my country, and well-educated people. I want all Lao people to have access to quality education and realise their potential. I am not only dreaming silently, but I am working towards it: I am planning to open an educational centre for Lao youth, and I am calling upon all of you to join our efforts in building Lao PDR’s sustainable future”.
Ms. Ildiko Hamos-Sohlo
Communications Specialist, UN in Lao PDR
Tel.: 021 267 778
Mobile: 020 7717 7913