U.S. Ambassador Daniel A. Clune handed over three new green houses, a reservoir facility, office supplies, and media equipment to the Somsanga Drug Treatment and Vocation Training Center on February 2, 2016. The reservoir and greenhouse will enable the center to expand its vocational training program, helping individuals who have received treatment at Somsanga to gain skills in agriculture and gardening so that they may once more become productive members of their communities.
The reservoir and greenhouse project was suggested by the Mayor of Vientiane Capital, H.E. Dr. Sinlavong Khoutphaythoune. Ambassador Clune remarked, “We are happy today that we have taken these first important steps to help individuals who have fallen victim to drugs to learn new skills, to improve their own lives, and to re-enter the workforce.”
During the handover ceremony Mr. Kou Chansina, the Chairman of the Lao National Commission for Drug Control (LCDC) said that the reservoir will help the center collect sufficient water to carry out landscaping and vegetable gardening training during the dry season, while the three greenhouses will help improve and expand the center’s vocational training and rehabilitation activities. “The facilities will assist the center in carrying out its important mission,” Mr. Kou added.
Ambassador Clune also handed over office supplies and media equipment to assist the Somsanga Center with anti-drug civic awareness campaigns for patients in the compound and villagers in nearby neighborhoods. “The United States values its strong cooperation with the government of the Lao PDR on combating illegal drugs,” Ambassador Clune remarked. He highlighted the range of U.S. programs aimed at combating illegal drug use including education programs, law enforcement programs, and programs to help opium farmers find alternative livelihoods.
Somsanga currently houses more than 1,350 patients. Since 1998, when the center expanded its services to assist drug addicts, the United States has contributed more than $350,000 to Somsanga, including buildings, skills training programs, vocational training, and equipment for both the treatment of drug users and activities to warn the public about the dangers of illicit narcotics. |Lao version|