Phanla secondary school in Houaphan province is the beneficiary of an Alumni Innovation Grant after one of their teachers submitted a proposal for the Australian Government’s scheme. Vongsone Heuangphida, a Laos Australia Alumna, realised that for messaging about COVID-19 to be useful for teens, it needs to be created by teens. Therefore, she is working with students to create videos and posters, that aim to educate other teens on the importance of good hygiene to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Vongsone had taught English from 2004 to 2011 at Phanla secondary school. In 2014, she pursued to upgrade her English teaching skills and knowledge at Flinders University, Australia. In 2016, she returned home with a Master of Education (Leadership and Management). She was promoted to be the head of statistics and ICT unit. Outside of her normal work schedule she has been managing an evening English teaching program for primary and secondary students at the same school.

Since 2019, active alumna Vongsone has been participating in the Women in Leadership Program also funded by the Australian Government. The Program is designed for 20 Laos Australia women alumni across many different organisations and roles, to create supportive networks, career planning and development, as well as to build skills, knowledge and confidence in leadership with a focus on gender equity and the challenges facing women.

“Students love these project activities so much. By providing them with the right messages about COVID-19 health prevention, each group went on further to discuss the concept of their drawings and videos which they hoped would communicate the right behaviours to other students in their school.” Vongsone said.

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