Laotian youth visiting Stanford discuss 'UXOs'

April 9, 2013 7:49:09 PM PDT
Two young people from the country of Laos are in the Bay Area to talk about the devastating impact of unexploded bombs left over from the time of the Vietnam War nearly 40 years ago. And, a former U.S. ambassador to Laos is traveling with them.

Manixia Thor is a mother and she's leading a team of women who remove unexploded bombs in her country, Laos. She leaves her 2-year-old son when she goes to work. She visited Stanford on a Department of State-sponsored tour with retired Ambassador Douglas Hartwick and Thoummy Silamphan who lost his left hand to a cluster bomb when he was just 8-years-old.

"I had the honor of serving as ambassador to Laos in the early 2000s and the problem with unexploded ordinance was a serious one then, and remains almost equally serious today," Hartwick.

"I am honored to be doing this work, because it helps with the development with the country and I'm happy to know I can contribute to lessening the dangers of unexploded ordinances," Thor said.

They are both part of a program called and their goal is to let people in the U.S. know how they can help Laos finally have a safer future.