Tag Archives: Fanny Odermatt

An old woman walks 1km to buy pain medicine.

Young Lao Photographers Document Their World With Donated Cameras

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been three months since I visited Luang Prabang, Laos to work alongside the dedicated people who run The Language Project.

Fanny Odermatt, a Swiss volunteer at Language Project’s @ My Library center sent me a message yesterday with a brief update on one of their projects: The Young Lao Photographer’s Gallery. If you’re in need of a bit of “virtual traveling” (or if you participated in the Help In Your Own Way Giveaway), I thought this would be a nice middle-of-the-week treat for you!

Students use donated cameras to document their daily lives and, in image after image, you can see both the beauty and the challenges of life in the Lao Republic. Soon, you’ll be able to buy these images directly from the website and the proceeds will be shared by the library and the photographers.

As part of the run-up to a book project called “Laos Through Our Own Eyes”, the @My Library center has also sponsored a Portrait Contest for its students. There are some really lovely, affecting shots here — especially remarkable given how young these photographers are. While you’re there, be sure to check out the other galleries as well!

This is a link post – You can visit the site mentioned by clicking the main link above (or just click here).

I thought this would be an opportune moment to tip my hat to three women that I’ve met here who are doing inspired work!


Luang Prabang Librarian Chantha Soulingasack

Here in Laos, people are celebrating International Women’s Day… and from where I’m sitting, they’re celebrating it loudly!

I thought this would be an opportune moment to offer a tip of my hat to three women that I’ve met here who are doing inspired work:

CHANTHA SOULINGASACK is the Librarian of the Luang Prabang Provincial Library. She is responsible for administering the day-to-day operations of the Library and reaching out to donors and partners that can help the Library’s mission. Chantha then steps out from behind her desk and rides in a boat — up and down the Mekong River — to deliver books and school supplies to the children in remote villages.


CAROL KRESGE founded The Language Project in 1999 and has served as its Director since day one. The Language Project is building community libraries for students to read books, use the internet, practice foreign languages, and to learn about the arts, photography, and music. To give you some sense of her involvement, Carol personally chooses every book to be culturally appropriate and to meet specific, local needs at each individual libraries. At least 85% of the materials that these Libraries offer would otherwise be unavailable in Laos… and that’s due to Carol’s unstinting efforts to help her students get the materials they actually need — unlike most projects that rely on donated unwanted, used books and book overruns.


Fanny Odermatt: Have You Seen This Woman?

Upon walking back into @My Library for the first time in eight months, one of the first things I noticed was a laminated picture of FANNY ODERMATT on the wall. A psychology student who just arrived for an extended visit from Switzerland, Fanny wanted to find a way to help out… and to break the ice with the Library’s users. So she created a “WANTED” poster for herself, telling people to stop her in the street if they wanted to speak English or French with her — or to help her learn to speak Lao! Since then, she’s been getting plenty of practice and has even started work on assembling a book of photographs shot by @My Library Students. Go Fanny!


If you want to support the work these women are doing, please take a moment to read about the “Help In Your Own Way” Giveaway!