AAP staff report
MINNEAPOLIS — Miss Minnesota USA 2012, Nitaya Panemalaythong, was invited by the U.S. Embassy in Laos to make a special visit with community builders abroad.
The goal of her trip is “to help promote business, charitable, and cultural ties between Laos and the U.S.” This is a special occasion for Panemalaythong as it will be the first time she has ever been to Laos, where her family is from.
Sponsored by the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) for January 13-27, 2013, Panemalaythong has been asking community members to consider making a donation to this special opportunity for their community. The organizations she’s visiting are in need of “school supplies, hygiene materials, toys, shoes, clothes and international shipping services,” shhe said. Monetary donations are also welcomed to help purchase the items listed, and to assist the staff of the schools, orphanages and non-profits she’ll be visiting.
Only 63 percent of the girls in Laos can read. Panemalaythong is visiting groups trying to change that and to give them more opportunities for a brighter future. Even just a few dollars help in Laos. Where $5 gets someone a cup of coffee or a value meal in America, it turns into 39,800 kip in Laos.
Panemalaythong will be working with the charity Peuan Mit. Supported by the U.S. Embassy, the staff and volunteers of Peuan Mit provide counseling and support to Lao street children who have limited opportunities. She will also visit remote villages near Luang Prabang with the non-profit organization Pencils of Promise. Other stops include a visit with the Vientiane Youth Center for Health and Development, an organization “that does incredible work with Lao teenagers.”
People interested in helping can visit the site listed (www.gofundme.com/hok38) to make a donation. They are hoping to reach $5,000 to support children in Laos, which would convert to 39,812,519 kip. Given the 200,000+ Lao in the US, it seems a reachable goal. ο