Monday, April 4, 2011

To Laos with Love

In the April issue of SNAP, a local newspaper whose mission is to capture images of community events around Toronto, there is a short article which focuses on my media-rich event, To Laos with Love, which took place at the community centre just down the street from where I live. For the presentation portion, I spent hours and hours gleaning the World Wide Web for images and video as I did my research on Laos, and then hours and hours after that assembling this content into a visually powerful and captivating story. There were two very significant influences who inspired me to create this presentation and share it with the world: Steve Rutledge and Mike Yap. This presentation was not only to honour them, but their tremendous work as well.

The SNAP photographer who took these images wrote:

On Friday, March 4 The 519 Community Centre hosted a consciousness-raising fundraiser presentation and concert dedicated to educating the citizens of Toronto about Laos and the hill tribes.

The event had a strong focus on how two people and their small humanitarian organization, Adopt a Village in Laos, from Port Hope, Ontario have positively impacted (and are continuing to impact) on the lives of the hill tribes of rural Laos. The presentation covered important issues of health, poverty and social struggles.

The event consisted of the presentation part done by Roland Drake and the concert part performed by Julia Campisi and Mery Perez of "Voces Poeticas".

Event coordinator and key presenter Roland Drake with motivational magazine.

Artistic performers and the key speaker for the event: Jose Gonzalez, Julia Campisi, Mery Perez and Roland Drake.

Even though this event was lightly attended (with about 25 people in all), the people who did attend found the presentation engaging and educational. Several of the attendees later emailed me with their impressions, which you can read in their entirety on my presentation blog. Days after the presentation, I was absolutely thrilled when two of the attendees each made a donation for water filters.

The event at The 519 was just part of a process to illuminate the world at large to the wonderful humanitarian work of Adopt a Village in Laos. But overall, it has been a daunting struggle to get the word out in the mainstream media. One of the few glimmers of hope has been SNAP. In addition to covering my March event, for which I am very grateful, this publication will be doing a 1/4-page story in their June issue featuring this small organization from Port Hope.

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