Kaolee Chongchoualee, Laos
“DDD saw my ability instead of my disability and gave me a chance to prove to myself and others that I can still work and follow my dreams,” says KaoleeChongchoualee, DDD Laos’ first Associate who uses a wheelchair. Kaolee joined us in February 2018 and was rated a top performer this quarter for her efficiency and for delivering high quality services to clients. Our office has been made accessible for Kaolee as well as for the other people with disabilities we foresee joining DDD.
Kaolee had a difficult journey to DDD. Kaolee’s parents are farmers in Laos’ Houaphanh, a poor and remote province. One of her siblings was able to finish her studies and, as a nurse, was supporting Kaolee and other siblings who are still in school. As Kaolee was aiming for a high school diploma, in her sixth year, tragedy struck. She suddenly developed a fever that left her lower limbs paralyzed, leaving her unable to continue her studies. As this was a rural area with inadequate medical facilities, the cause of her fever has never been established.
Fortunately, with the help of the Lao Disabled Women’s Developing Center (LDWDC), she received a computer training grant and while there learned about DDD’s Work-Study Program. Through the program, Kaolee quickly developed the soft and hard skills necessary to succeed as an associate. Ever eager to learn, she also participated in the English classes offered on weekends.
“Before my disability, I wanted to be a teacher or a doctor,” Kaolee says “I kind of gave up on myself and [wanted to] stay home. But now I want to continue my studies and pursue my dream again.“ Kaolee hopes to continue earning an income and eventually to live independently. “I have to be strong to be able to appreciate what I have and do my best every day.”