Phet Latsabout

Portrait Phet speeching

During the Indochine War, I worked for the Lao Army carrying food to the soldiers. I was sixteen.

One day, as I walked with three of my friends to where the soldiers were stationed, my foot hit an unexploded Blue 24. It exploded immediately, shattering the bone in my left leg, and lodging fragments of metal throughout my body. Two of my friends were also injured, and the other died.

The explosion left me struggling in a field, covered in blood, in desperate pain. We were close to my village when it happened – and friends came, and delivered me to the doctor, who was working in the caves where the Lao Army were camped.

The doctor cut my left leg off because the bone was so badly fractured. For a month I stayed in the cave alone, while the others would go out into the battle field. I was very lonely and I cried a lot. It was a very difficult time.

Over time, I learnt to live without my leg and continue to forge a livelihood. My family cared for me greatly, and it was for them that I fought to continue my life and to create the best living conditions for myself that I could.

I can make a difference for people in Laos. In my village I see those who engage in risky behavior like scrap metal collection. They are mostly children, so I educate them every day and now I see that the risky behavior is reduced. I also advise other disabled people to use the service at the regional and national rehabilitation centers, so that they can have better mobility like me.

“I used the blue book (the Convention on Cluster Munitions) to explain to other people in my village - including the chief - about the International law. Now they understand, and appreciate me explaining it to them.”