The Face of a Community

"My name is Thing," she said softly, "I am 23 years old."

I am writing and reflecting on the idea of leaders or people who are champions in their own community. I think of a village in Lao and my experience with Thing.

My name is Thing

She strikes me as a kind-hearted yet strong women. A woman that has seen a lot of difficult situations but remains positive. When I was speaking to her she had a small smile, but when I asked if I could take her photo her face grew serious like she had a message to share with her eyes.

Thing holds two positions in the village: Traditional Birth Assistant (TBA) and Community Health Volunteer. In my eyes, this was a face of a person that I found represented the community.

Both roles enabled her to be active in the community and learn about the women and children. In all the villages that are supported by the “Northern Uplands Food and Nutrition Security Improvement Project (NUFNIP)" project, individuals in the community volunteer for different positions. These volunteers are recruited for their commitment and provided with training.

Homes in Thing's village

In meeting Thing I was reminded that true leaders can often go unnoticed or perhaps even underappreciated, her role as a support volunteer for women and girls doesn't mean she's known by everyone in the village but she's daring enough to commit to supporting those who are less knowledgeable and vulnerable to health risks.

Little girl carrier her little brother

Does this story make you think of a person who you believe represents your community?

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