Go to main content

“HI is like a family”


Armed violence reduction | Laos | PUBLISHED ON January 16th 2024
Daovy (left) at the clearance base during resting time in the village of Sophoun with a member of the administrative team. Laos, October 2023.

Daovy (left) at the clearance base during resting time in the village of Sophoun with a member of the administrative team. Laos, October 2023. | © G. Lordet / HI

Daovy has been a medic in Laos for 20 years. She tells us about her career and her experience with deminers and the local population.

From a dream to the reality

My name is Daovy, I'm 42 and I'm from southern Laos. I have been working for HI as a medic for 20 years now. I'm married and have two children, a daughter aged 18 and a son aged 8. Unfortunately, with my job, I can't see them very often, so my mother raises them.

Before being a medic, I have been a nurse for two years. To become a medic, I had to take a 4-week training course at the International School of Medicine in Vientiane.

Becoming a medic was a dream of mine from an early age. It means that I can help someone by saving their life. My job is to be ready to help any clearance experts if necessary, but I help very often the local population in many ways: I have treated a villager who had been injured. Once, I saved a person from drowning. Another time I supported a woman to deliver her baby.

Working alongside deminers

Our clearance team consists of two team leaders, a section commander, eight deminers, a medic and two drivers. We were picked up from southern Laos and travelled from Savannaketh province to here in Sophoun, in the North of the country. My role is to be ready here in case of injuries, to ring the emergency first aid and if there's a more serious accident, to take the injured person to the hospital.

When I see deminers at work, I tell myself that it's a very difficult and dangerous job, and that they're very brave. Sometimes, they have to clear mines in mountainous areas, so they have to be even more careful. Because it's not flat ground, they can get hurt at any moment.

We're a close-knit team, and work well together. We're like a family, and I love working with them.

HI achievement in Laos

Around 35 HI clearance staff have been engaged in survey and clearance operations in northern Laos for the last 4 years. HI has an unexploded ordnance (UXO) survey and clearance team that intervenes on contaminated lands, often agricultural lands, for operations that last several months. The organization also has a mobile team that carries out removal of items of UXO in specific locations, at the request of residents or authorities, reporting dangers such as the presence of a bomb on a forest path, for example. Since 2019, HI has cleared 200 hectares for the benefit of 18,000 inhabitants. In the last four years, HI teams have destroyed and secured nearly 15,000 unexploded ordnance, mines, and explosive devices of all kinds...

HI would like to thank its past and present donors The Foreign Ministry of The Netherlands (BuZA), The German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO) and The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives for supporting HI’s ongoing work to release land safely to communities in northern Laos. 

More news