Mr Tuey, Kham District
At the time of his accident, Mr Tuey was a 32 year old farmer living in Kham District with his wife and two young children. In February 2012, Tuey was using a long knife to do the clearing along the borders of his farm when he accidentally hit a bombie, which exploded upon impact.
As a result of the accident, Tuey lost both of his hands, sustained serious facial wounds and was totally blinded. Due to the remoteness of his farm and village, it took about 4 hours to transport Tuey to the provincial hospital for treatment.
Upon his return home after treatment, accompanied by a doctor, Thoummy Silamphan, (QLA’s Executive Director, who lost his left hand in a UXO accident when he was 8 years old) visited Tuey. “Mr Tuey was extremely depressed. He could not do anything for himself, not even feed himself.” Thoummy referred to his own experience in helping Tuey understand that there is help available that can improve his life.
The physical challenges of day to day functioning in addition to the sense of burden from inability to contribute to the family’s income have been overwhelming for Tuey. Thoummy arranged for him to receive a prosthesis at the Center for Medical Rehabilitation (CMR) in Vientiane, where Mr Tuey and his wife stayed for one month. Before he left, Mr Tuey told Thoummy that he felt better for the assistance and the feeling that he was not alone. Since then, Mr Tuey has been able to feed himself and do other things that he had not been able to do since the accident. He had gained some independence which made it a little easier for his family and better for him.
Since 2012, QLA has made several trips to see Mr Tuey and to re-assess his needs.
An animal raising income generation initiative was implemented for the family but without much success, as it did not suit their circumstances. Mr Tuey’s wife continues to work on the farm, despite the UXO risk.
Mr Tuey and his family had lived in a small house with bamboo walls and was in very poor condition. Despite a roof repair kindly funded by another organisation, the house did not meet their needs. Tuey was worried about the poor condition of the house, which contributed to his mobility challenges and quality of life for him and his family.
From previous experience, QLA is aware of the impact that newly found safe, secure and appropriate accommodation can have on the psychosocial state of UXO survivors, people with disabilities and their families. In late 2015, it was agreed that rather than repair the old house, QLA will co-ordinate with local villagers to build a new house for Mr Tuey and his family using funds from a generous private donor to QLA. Shortly after, QLA arranged for the needs assessment, drawing up of plans and the purchase & delivery of the building materials to Mr Tuey’s village, which is in a remote location.
Two building technicians went with the delivery truck to the village and they stayed there until the construction work by the local villagers was complete.
Around the same time, QLA held a social gathering in Phonsavanh for peer to peer support between UXO survivors and people with disabilities and Mr Tuey attended for the first time. He said the gathering was very good and even though he could not see the other people, he could hear that many people faced similar challenges to him. For him, the best thing about the day was having the opportunity to meet with other people, including a blind UXO survivor who was actively raising questions and making comments throughout the day and Mr Tuey was pleased to hear a blind person be so active. He expressed interest in coming to the next gathering.
In late January 2016, QLA handed over the new house to Mr Tuey and his family.
During the handover ceremony, Mr. Tuey gave a short speech to everyone: “Firstly I would like to thank QLA for providing support to my family. I am very happy about having a new house and we enjoy the new house a lot. In the past when I still stayed in my old house, it was difficult to walk in and out because I had to crimp up and down on a small ladder but now I feel better about moving around.”
A basi ceremony was held to show appreciation for the new house and to bless the house.
Tuey later invited his relatives, friends and neighbors into the new house and they enjoyed the food and drinks and a few smiles together. Additionally, the head of village also attended the ceremony and gave a speech of thanks to QLA. Mr Tuey’s mother told QLA that this was the first time she had ever seen friends and villagers engage with her son in this way since his accident and him engage with them.
During the same trip, QLA also provided a grant (provided by a different private donor) towards a small business initiative that Tuey and his wife had recently started. The grant will be used to construct a small shop and to purchase materials for selling gas/petrol and to buy other products to sell. Tuey’s wife told QLA that their small business initiative was running well, because there was no such shop in the village and very much needed, as many customers were coming to buy petrol.
At the time of QLA’s visit, a customer came to buy petrol for his motorbike.
Mr Tuey also told a QLA representative that the new house has brought a new life. Understandably, he acknowledged the challenges and negative thoughts he has had since his accident, but said he now feels inspiration to keep going, whatever the case and will focus on the future for himself and his family. He said he will try to use the grant to generate more income for his family.
Tuey’s wife also mentioned that once she has more money she will buy some materials to build a small kitchen just behind the new house for cooking and she will ask her relatives/neighbors to help with this.
QLA would like to thank the two private donors whose kind generosity has helped to improve the quality of life for Mr Tuey and his family.