LANEXANG VILLAGE – The Lao community in Iberia Parish is fundraising for relief efforts for the people of southern Laos who are recovering from a major flooding disaster.
The community is raising money to give to a few Lao organizations who are allowed by the Laos government to access the country.
“It’s a billion-dollar dam in the southern province of Laos that was broken, or shattered should I say. And, basically, it flooded the southern province of Laos called Attapheu. And, it left several thousand homeless and several hundred declared dead,” explained fundraising relief co-chair Kimberly Liemkeo.
The Lao temple has been taking donations for weeks, partnering with organizations that have access to the country to make sure the money raised goes directly to the people affected by the flood.
“It is a communist country. The government of Laos is not accepting help from outsiders. So, when I mean outsiders, when you’re not actually Lao or Laotian people, so if the Chinese, if the Korean, or even the U.S., you know, NATO even tries to go and help, they will decline it,” said Liemko.
Liemko, who grew up in Acadiana, returned from Georgia to encourage the youth here to step up and support the cause.
“We have a volleyball tournament that consists of ten teams, and the way we raise money is $150 dollars per [team] entry,” explained the founder of Youth Sports Foundation, Jimmy Oday.
Oday says he was inspired to put on the tournament after seeing the devastation of his people’s motherland.
“We saw on social media with houses and cars washing away. It was almost like another tsunami or [Hurricane] Katrina going on over there. And, what we have over here is a lot better than what they have, and we are trying to send what we got over there,” said Oday.
Clyde Warfel, who recently moved into Lanexang Village with his girlfriend who is Laotian, is just trying to give back to the community that has welcomed him with open arms.
“This community sticks together. It’s amazing what this community does for each other; it’s amazing. Everybody is family, so they’re trying to take care of everybody,” said Warfel.
To find out more about how you can help, go to https://www.jailao.org/