GISH CHANGE-A-LIFE:
MISSION LAOS

Each year, gishers around the world team up to make a tremendous global impact. Together, we’ve given dozens of Haitian earthquake orphans a home, housed Syrian refugee families, founded a farm and food co-op for 150 Rwandan genocide survivors, provided support for a ballet dance school for at-risk children in South Africa, preserved tens of thousands of acres of endangered habitat, and helped save endangered species from extinction.

This year we’re focusing the GISH community’s incredible kindness on the small country of Laos…

Despite not wanting to be part of the Vietnam war, Laos was the most heavily bombed country during the war. HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of bombs were dropped on Laos…

… But 30% of these bombs never exploded. They are all over the country, hidden out of sight—but can be triggered simply by stepping on them. Since the war ended, 20,000 farmers and other villagers have been killed by accidentally detonating these bombs.  

40% of these have been children.

We at GISH think that’s unacceptable, and we’re going to do something about it! This year, we’re going to let Laotians know Gishers all around the world want to help make right what they went through.

We’re going to help them over the next few months; we’re going to help them during the Hunt… and then, the Winning Team is going to help them in person!

Yes, this year the Winning Team is going to Laos with Giles Duley to tour the beautiful country and work with the incredible women below. It will be a life-changing trip of sight-seeing, service and adventure.

Photo by Giles Duley

First, we’re supporting these Laotian women and others like them. Meet the Laotian crew of MAG.

These incredibly courageous young women have decided they want to ensure no more Laotians are killed by unexploded bombs.  They work with a phenomenal organization (MAG), and at great risk to themselves, they identify unexploded bombs and clear them so that the land is safe for children and families. These all female de-mining teams are doing all the can to make their own communities safer.

That’s their job. And they’re proud of it.

We’re going to work in partnership with these Laotian women and the incredible MAG organization to clear unexploded bombs from farmland, roads and schools — we are going to make safe futures for people like Mrs. Mun, a wonderful woman who has experienced tragedy after tragedy due to these bombs.

Then we’re going to do something special for Laotian children that have lost limbs from unexploded bombs – we’ll announce what this is during the week of the Hunt!

THEN THE WINNING TEAM IS GOING TO JOIN GILES DULEY IN LAOS!

MEET MRS. MUN… 

Photo by Giles Duley

Mrs. Mun and her family are Laotian farmers, drawing their livelihood from the land. She was born in the village of Nunmen in 1974, a year after the US intervention in Laos ceased – but despite being born into peace, her life has been destroyed by war’s legacy. Nunmen is the most heavily bombed place in the world. As a child, Mrs. Mun was injured twice by unexploded ordnance. Despite those injuries, she continued to persevere and work her small farm.

As she worked in the fields with her family last year, tragedy struck again: they accidentally trigged an unexploded bomb. When she finally regained consciousness, she discovered her brother and daughter were dead.

Today, she is paralyzed by the thought of entering the fields, haunted by the images of her fallen loved ones. Meanwhile dangerous, unexploded munitions still lurk in the fields, making it not only heartbreaking but actively dangerous for her and her community to farm the land.

In partnership with the incredible women of MAG, we’re going to help clear her land.

WANT TO HELP MRS. MUN & HER COMMUNITY?

To help clear the fields of Mrs. Mun and her community until they are free from unexploded bombs, you can join the 2019 Hunt, gift registration to someone special in your life, or donate a gisholarship (so someone on the planet that wants to play Gish but can’t afford it will receive this wonderful gift from you).

A portion of every registration, donated GISHolarship, or gifted registration will support the effort of these young women. You can make a positive difference in their lives right now—and all you have to do is sign up for the best week of your summer.

MEET GILES DULEY

For those of you who haven’t met him, this is our great friend, award-winning humanitarian photographer and activist Giles Duley.

Giles is a tremendously generous, giving spirit who uses his gift of storytelling and photography to share the stories of those who have come face to face with the horrors of war. His award-winning work with Legacy of War has helped countless people around the world who have been victims of land mines or weapons of war.

This story also has particular significance to Giles. As you may know, Giles Duley is himself the survivor of land mine explosions. He has lost three limbs to IED and explosive devices, so he personally has experienced how UXO and munitions can affect a person.

He writes, “The funds we raise will mean we prevent children getting injured like me. I know whats its like to be injured by a mine – the pain, the hurt, the emotional cost –  and if we can prevent one child having to go through the same,  we will have done a very special thing and it would mean the world to me.”

Join the rebellion against normalcy and make memories to last a lifetime! 
The experience will not only change your life, but the lives of these families in Laos, who deserve to live and work without fearing for their safety.
Thank you.