A Laotian Family’s Greatest Joy

High in the mountains of northern Laos, a close-knit community lives in gratitude for the strong bonds they share. And as time goes by, they are finding more and more to be thankful for – including Kham Ann and his family. 

With World Renew’s support, Kham Ann and members of his community worked to build a roof to protect the community’s water tap. Kham Ann is thankful that they were able to work together to achieve this much needed addition.

Kham Ann, a rice farmer, also celebrates that through World Renew’s Free A Family® program he has received guidance and support on how to better store his harvested rice. He is grateful that World Renew Laos’ field staff encouraged him to establish a kitchen garden because his family now enjoys more diverse, vegetable-rich meals. And he feels especially blessed that, thanks to the training he received through the Free A Family program in pig raising and growing cassava, he is generating more income. Committed to seeing others in his village flourish, Kham Ann joyfully shares the knowledge he has gained with his community. 

But just as the members of Kham Ann’s village work together and support each other, there is one struggle that weighs heavily on the collective heart of the community. Opium addiction is rampant in Laos. With no access to healthcare people turn to the easily-accessible narcotic for pain management and become addicted, including Kham Ann’s mother, Kleo.

Kham Ann hid the pain of worry about his mother’s addiction behind his bright smile. He says, “People thought we were happy, but in reality, our family was not happy.” And as his family watched Kleo become thin, frail and withdrawn, they felt helpless to support her. 

For nine years, Kleo’s addiction left her feeling isolated. She was unable to take part in the community’s rice planting or celebrations. She longed to be free of her addiction. “I was very poor in spirit for many years and I wanted to cut drugs…I didn’t want to burden others. I felt sorry for my grandchildren and my husband because I didn’t have peace,” she shares.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
– Matthew 5:3

Through Free A Family, Kleo was able to participate in a drug rehabilitation program. Smiling, Kham Ann says, “My mother is no longer addicted to opium, after 9 years! This is the biggest freedom for our family…After the 6 months of drug rehab with World Renew, she is fully off drugs.” He says, “She has a new life…[She’s] able to be a vital part of our family and our village. She is a role model for our village, proving that sobriety is possible.” 

At Thanksgiving, as we take the time to reflect on our blessings, we at World Renew give thanks for compassionate people like you who make transformations like Kleo’s possible. Thank you for partnering with us!

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