These last news are not translated into French yet


The Kapue Silk Project

As part of its rural development work, the SFE used a theatre group from Vientiane for un unusual training project. Mid-December drama was used on several consecutive nights in the villages with which the SFE is working. That was a different way of demonstrating the main steps to the villagers should use when raising silkworms, winding good quality silk thread of and treating issues that can be encountered during production. This also reminds participants of this project’s main objectives which are that are acquisition of financial independence and the use of that to pay their children’s education of and facilitate easier access to health care. After each presentation the villagers were invited to come on stage and to answer questions about what they had seen and heard. Good participation with much laughter indicates that his approach is successful.

The Attopeu nursing competition: 14th January

The SFE provides training for the nurses in district hospitals (about twice to three times a month) and in the provincial hospital (once a week). A competition is held annually to encourage and motivate nurses. SFE staff select those who should be rewarded and also asses the effectiveness of the training session. This is always a happy occasion and gifts, such as a nice SFE shirt for example, are distributed. Singing and a delicious meal create a pleasant atmosphere and the day terminates with the presentation of the long awaited diplomas.

Sekong: TB project

From 13th to 24th February French doctors came to help SFE for medical staff training in the Sekong hospital. This voluntary help, started in 1999 is always appreciated. This year, two dentists, an optician and a radiologist shared their knowledge with their counterparts in Laos. Many patients in the region benefited from medical and optical treatment. 420 patients were examined in eye clinics and about 45 kg of glasses from France were distributed free of charge.

Kapue Silk Project : a participant testifies

Témoignage d’une villageoise qui produit de la soie (source : blog d’Elise et Célio Nelson)

Five years ago SFE started a project to develop silk production in the Sekong province. There is a significant market for silk in Laos and neighboring countries. The project’s aim is to enable villagers to earn extra income and thereby improve their living conditions.
E. was only seven 7 years old when she terminated school. She would have liked to continue school but her family needed her for work. She was married when she was 17 and today at 22 she is the mother of a baby four months. She has been trained by SFE and is now integrated in the project.

« At first we did not want to raise silkworms because we were afraid of them! But on seeing that other villagers could earn additional income by producing silk, my parents encouraged me to participate. I find it is easier for raise silkworms rather than buffaloes! "
She has now been producing silk for four years silk. Silk production can increase family income by up to 40 euros per month (In Laos, the average monthly wage is less than 30 euros per month). In addition to silk production the faeces of silkworm droppings are used for making tea! There is also a lucrative market for the caterpillars as these are delicious grilled! While the income from rice production is irregular and depends on the weather particularly during the harvesting time silk production assures a regular monthly income. Through this regular income E’s entire family benefits. Her family consists of seven people : her mother and father, two brothers, her husband, her baby and herself. Their living conditions have considerably improved.
"With this additional income we can purchase more: meat, clothes ... But I have not yet been able to afford a television! "
E. is one of the best in the village for silk production and has acquired autonomy by the means of this activity. She has learned how to reproduce silkworms and by so doing avoids the cost of buying them. On the other hand she does not maintain a plantation of mulberry trees and is therefore obligated to buy the mulberry leaves to feed her caterpillars. She still hopes to find extra time to do that and thereby further reduce costs. She has become independent and wishes to continue producing silk. She would like to return to school but does not think this will be possible. The entire family now depends on her.
"Life was hard before I had the opportunity of participating in the silk project. If I was not producing silk I would be growing vegetables but income from that is lower. I hope to continue producing silk »



Community Development Project

Mosquito nets received from the German embassy

Mosquito nets are an essential prevention tool against Malaria. The SFE community health development project received funds from the German Embassy to buy 550 long-lasting treated mosquito nets. These were distributed in all 10 project villages last December.



A visit to a remote village

On June 6, 2011, the Saydonkhong village health station, situated in the Attopeu province, was officially opened. Building process took four months with much effort, as work had to be completed before the rains which came early this year making access roads to the village impassable. But the result is really convincing! The SFE has supported this project by providing materials and a team member to supervise the villagers during construction.

Discover road conditions at the beginning of the rainy season in this video clip (8 ')

Construction of the Saydonkhong health centre:
Video clip (4'40 ")


Project tuberculosis

Following the success in the Attopeu province the proposed fight against tuberculosis has been "exported" to the neighboring province at the request of the provincial hospital in the Sekong province.
So on April 28, after two years of preparation, the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the first phase of the project was finally signed, for a period of three years.




On July 19 Elise Nelson and Celio with their children joined the SFE. They are studying Lao in Vientiane until early November, before joining Nathaniel Rediger on the Kapu Rural Development Project.


On July 8, the Lebreuil family returned to Switzerland after two years working in the SFE headquarters in Vientiane.
The SFE is considering the future of the rural development project (now mainly focused on sericulture) and how it can be diversified. In this context, Sophie Hege, an agricultural student came ina and provided valuable assistance in serving a six months period on the Kapeu farm.


Attopeu 4

Signature of MOU

The MOU (Master of Understanding) for phase 4 of our medical project in Attopeu has been signed on July 28th, 2010. It is focused on community development in 10 villages and supporting the provincial hospital.

Pictures of activities


Phase II

MOU signed

The MOU for phase II of the ophtalmologic center in Savannakhet has been signed for 3 years on October 4, 2010

Some pictures of the event



Aude Grosreneaud and Vanh Kèovongkhot married in Laos on June 14th, 2010.
Their union will be celebrated in France on August 28th in Montbéliard.
Melinda Kim et Michael van den Bergtogether (Netherland) married in Korea on 23th October, 2010.
A reception is to be held in Netherlands on November 12 for those who cannot join the celebration in Korea.
These last news are not translated into French yet

Back home

The medical project in Luang Namtha has been closed at the end of May, 2010. Our co-workers and partners were all satisfied with the results of the project. There has been noteworthy progess in different areas ...
... Read more ...

The Slesak family is now back in Germany, after 5 and a half years of service in Laos. Günther is going to do further studies to get a master in international medecine and work in tropical medecine.
As for Melinda Kim, she is taking a sabbatical year in Korea.

Vincent Amstutz and his family have been in Laos since July 27th, 2006. They returned to Switzerland on May 15th, 2010. Vincent will take a position as «chef de clinique» at the «Policlinique universitaire» in Lausanne.
He will continue to give some of his time for SFE, namely as a member of the committee in Europe, and also to develop partnership between the «Policlinique» and Attopeu provincial hospital.
These last news are not translated into French yet


Click on the image to view the newsletter (in French, PDF format)

Lettre de nouvelles avril 2010, version PDF


Desastrous flooding

Ketsana typhoon impacts our team in Southern Laos

Typhoon Ketsana caused flooding in Southern Laos. The Attopeu region was severely affected on September 30, 2009. However, our teams are safe. « The main street in the centre of Attopeu was the only road that was still dry! Our house was flooded... »", said Vincent Amstutz. « The typhoon came down from Vietnam. There was not so much wind, but a lot of rain. » Several regions in Southern Laos were flooded, especially in Attopeu, Sekong, Saravane and Savannakhet provinces.

« The most difficult time was the night of Wednesday to Thursday. The water rose very high - up to 1.5 meters - in our house, » continued Dr Amstutz. « On Thursday, the water was so deep I had to swim to get to our house where we live with our three children. But to-day, the water has gone down and there is a only a small trickle. Everything is covered with thick mud. Thanks to the cooperation of the staff, we were able to get the houses, offices, and the hospital cleaned and back to working order in about two weeks. »


One year's worth of tests lost

The hospital building was flooded under 50 cm of water, and one year's worth of tests related to our Spirulina project were lost. Nevertheless, our Lao team member can be proud of herself: she went back with 15 liters after the flooding and has already managed to fill a basin.

NGOs cooperate(report)

In Vientiane, the capital city, the NGOs are working together to bring help to the affected areas. Attopeu province will be taken in charge by Health Unlimited, a British NGO.

SFE staff will continue to help in areas where they have the expertise, that is, in local hospitals, where they know the people and can assess the real needs and help in adequate and flexible ways, on a long-term basis.

Several NGOs have been asking for information from SFE in order to know what the real needs are in the hospitals. A lot of expensive equipment has been damaged and will need to be replaced or repaired. Our concern is what will happen in caring for the poorest people after this phase of emergency aid has passed. Our support for the poorer patients will be take on greater significance in the days following the crisis.



  • Two new expatriates started work in Summer
    • Marc Lebreuil arrived in August to take over from Frédéric Huissoud as Administrative Director. The Huissoud family returned to Switzerland in July 2009.
    • Nathanaël Rediger will take charge of the rural developement and silk production projet in the Boloven
      Jacques and Marguerite Besnier returned home at the beginning of 2009, having completed two years of service in Laos.
  • The medical projects continue in The medical projects continue in Attopeu and Louang Namtha, and a new project, an extension of our project in Attopeu, started in Sekong in April 2009.
    • Attopeu most of the Tuberculosis team moved to Sekong with Aude Grosrenaud in April, 2009, in order to start a new project in support of the National program for the control of Tuberculosis, similar to the work that has been done in Attopeu. As part of this project, we are working with the Swiss Tropical Institute in Basel on research into resistance to Malaria. You can see a photographic report of these activities from Florence Niess here.
    • Louang Namtha



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HAUT PAGE . Updated  : 05/27/2012