SOCIAL GOOD: Small Project, Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos

SOCIAL GOOD: Small Project, Big Impact: Making Birth Safe in Laos

This post is the second installment by  Kristyn Zalota, Founder of, about her work in Laos. To read the first post in the series, “One Mom’s Mission to Save Lives in Laos”

Tahoy mother and 3 day old baby. Tahoy women have 8-10 babies, many of whom die.

“Off to Laos!  I am really doing this!”, I enthused in a text to a friend en route to JFK for my around-the-world flight.  I was headed to a remote province of Laos to provide local women with Clean Birth Kits (essential birthing supplies: picture instructions, absorbent sheet, soap, cord clamp, sterile blade that prevent infection) and training on safe, hygienic birthing practices.It took me 48 hours to get to Thailand, due to a delayed flight, and I was worse for the wear on arrival.  En route from Thailand to Laos, my stomach hurt from travel-induced anxiety, malaria pills were causing another kind of digestive distress and I was sleep-deprived.

Plus, I didn’t really know where I was going: a cell phone number from my Lao partner organization, OVC, was my only information. Arriving in the Thai-Lao border town, Pakse, I obsessively dialed my contact for hours until she answered.  Much to my relief, she picked me up and drove me from Pakse to Salavan, where OVC is based.

My first day in Salavan, I knew that the stress and discomfort of travel were well worth it.  I saw immediately, that the directors of OVC, Nong and Nyai, were women that I could work with.  They are efficient, hard-working, committed and generous.  For more than 10 years, they have been providing medical, educational and agricultural support to ethnic minorities in this remote region.  They believe in empowering the local people: seven of OVC’s staff of twelve live in the communities and are ethnic minorities themselves. (more…)

Kristyn Zalota

Kristyn brings her years of experience as an entrepreneur and serial volunteer to She holds a MA, has run small businesses in Russia and the US, and has volunteered in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Uganda on projects related to women’s empowerment. After having children, Kristyn became an advocate for mothers in the US, as a doula and Lamaze educator, and abroad, as the Founder of She is honored to provide nurses in Laos with the supplies, funding and training they need to lower maternal and infant mortality rates in their villages.

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