Media CenterCRS Celebrates 25 Years in Lao PDR

Jim Stipe/CRS

You are here


Nikki Gamer
[email protected]
(443) 955- 7125


Sean Callahan, President and CEO, Welcomes Friends and Partners of CRS at Anniversary Event

VIENTIANE, LAOS, June 28, 2019 – CRS in Lao PDR welcomed Madame Sengdeuane Lachanthaboune, Minister of Education and Sports, Rena Bitter, U.S. Ambassador to Laos, as well as officials from central, provincial and district levels to celebrate 25 years of partnership with the government of the Lao PDR. Representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Vientiane, United Nations, INGOS and other partner organizations were also present to celebrate the milestone. At Settha Palace Hotel, attendees reflected on more than two decades of working together in communities throughout southern and central Laos.

CRS and the Ministry of Education and Sports together focused on providing high quality programming to the most vulnerable students, families and communities and achieved the following milestones:

  • Serving 21,000,000 school meals to children since 2012 through generous support from the U.S. government and the American people through the U.S. Department of Agriculture – McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program.
  • Working with communities in two districts in Khammouane province and three districts in Savannakhet province to prepare children and adults with disabilities to lead independent, integrated lives without stigma with support from the United States Agency for International Development.
  • Screening more than 60,000 people with suspected disabilities since 2015, helping more than 2,000 people with disabilities receive further medical screening and providing more than 400 assistive devices to people with disabilities.
  • Creating an early grade literacy toolkit for teachers to use in the classroom with non-Laos speaking children, helping them succeed in school alongside their peers.
  • Improving health, hygiene and access to water for vulnerable students and administrators through the construction or rehabilitation of boreholes and latrines at schools, the provision of water filters and utilization of the FIT for Schools curriculum.

Country Representative Holly Cantuba said, “CRS is thankful for the ongoing collaboration with the government of Laos, especially the Ministry of Education and Sports, at the central, provincial and districts levels. Together the government of Laos and CRS have worked to improve educational outcomes in the hope of creating positive lasting impact for students and ultimately the future of Lao PDR. Truly, the power of our partnership goes beyond anything a single person or organization could accomplish alone. CRS commits to continue supporting the government of Laos to bring its vision of its bright future to fruition.”

U.S. Ambassador Bitter said, “The work CRS has been doing for 25 years in Laos makes me so proud. This organization and its members exemplify the best of American values – a belief in service to community and dedication to helping those in most need, whether they are next door or across the world. I have seen first-hand the impact of CRS’ work in partnership with its local and national counterparts on behalf of the most vulnerable populations in the Lao PDR, and I look forward to continuing our joint efforts to helping the people of Laos realize their full potential.”     


CRS is an international humanitarian and development agency based in the United States. CRS eases suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. CRS has worked in Laos for 25 years, partnering with the government and communities to improve access to education, water, nutrition and inclusive environments.

For more information, visit or and follow CRS on social media: Facebook, Twitter at @CatholicRelief, @CRSnews



Jennifer Hardy

Associate Director, Global Communications

Jennifer Hardy
July 1, 2019

Based in Boston, Massachusetts

Jennifer Hardy is Catholic Relief Services’ Associate Director for Global Communications. She previously filled the role of Regional Communications Officer for Asia, where she worked as the point person for media, actively connecting journalists with engaging stories about CRS’ work throughout Asia. Jen traveled extensively throughout...More