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New Australian Scholarships for Disadvantaged Lao Students in Luang Prabang

Australia awarded 21 new undergraduate scholarships to students in Luang Prabang today, in a third consecutive year of support for young men and women from economically disadvantaged backgrounds to study at Souphanouvong University. 

The students were congratulated at a ceremony on campus by Ms Sophie Wilkinson, Second Secretary, Australian Embassy, along with the university’s dignitaries and faculty members, and representatives of the Laos Australia Institute.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ms Wilkinson said the Laos Australia National Scholarships (LANS) program, which also includes the National University of Laos, will give the students the personal, financial and academic support they need to excel in tertiary education and in their chosen careers.

Among this year’s awardees at Souphanouvong University are future Lao architects, business managers, engineers, environmentalists, financers, reporters, teachers, and veterinarians.

Mr Mai Douangpaserth, a student in the Faculty of Letters, comes from a remote village in Phongsaly province. 

“Born to a very poor family with one eye completely blind, my life so far has been filled with hardships. Knowing how much I love education, however, my widowed mother and my elder sister have been scraping through to let me finish high school. I love Lao language and literature wholeheartedly and have been dreaming about becoming a reporter. Thank you so very much, Australia, for awarding me the scholarship. I promise to make you, my family and my country proud,” he said.

“Australia is proud to be a part of ensuring these talented young people reach their dreams and achieve the most of what life can offer,” Ms Wilkinson added.

To ensure students with a disability receive the same opportunities, from this year onwards the LANS program includes a disability pathway with specialised support.

The Australian Government has offered around 70 LANS scholarships per year for the past 6 years for disadvantaged students to study at the National and Souphanouvong Universities. Over 400 LANS students have already graduated, and another 280 are currently benefiting from the  comprehensive package of financial and academic support. Applications open every September – for more information contact the Laos Australia Institute at 021 265721 or www.laosaustralianinsitute.com