Her deadline to secure a lower airfare abroad is coming soon, so if you're interested in assisting, sooner would be better than later in this instance.
As I've mentioned before, it's a very modest campaign, only seeking to raise $2,500 within the next few weeks. But it would be an immensely valuable first trip back to Laos for Somphet. She has not been back since her family first came to the US in 1986. She has been an absolutely outstanding advocate for the Lao and Lua culture, and I believe this trip will be deeply transformative for her.
She has now completed the second week of her campaign, and raised almost 40% of what she needs to take on this voyage. Having met her, I can say that I am deeply impressed with her good character and intentions, and I also understand the needs of her community and why this trip is important.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with her people, the Lua are one of the cultures found in Laos and Southeast Asia. Many of the families found in the US today escaped Laos as refugees. Many faced reprisals for assisting the United States during the conflicts. Many of Lua families, like Somphet's resettled in California. There, they continue to assist and support other Lao, Lua and Asian Americans rebuilding their lives. You can find Lua in cities like Santa Rosa, Fresno, Modesto, Stockton, Sacramento, and other parts of California, and to a lesser extent, Minnesota, Tennessee, Washington, Iowa, and Illinois.
There is very little documentation about Lua culture abroad or in the US, despite their consistent positive contributions and their willingness to assist others in need. You'll find few discussions of their beliefs, customs, or personal family histories, compared to larger communities from Laos such as the Khmu, Tai Dam, Mien, or Hmong. With each passing year, the Lua tragically lose more elder voices and irrecoverable links to the journey they have made as a people. Somphet Pheauboonma's return to Laos and Thailand will play an important part in addressing these issues.
You can visit her campaign at: http://www.gofundme.com/somphetpheauboonma
Please consider making a donation by September 21st, to give her the most support. You can also help significantly by giving her a signal boost by tweeting, sharing, or linking to her campaign on your blogs or websites.