Saving Lives With So Few Resources
On January 2, 2000 Alison Wright nearly lost her life in a devastating bus accident on a remote jungle road in Laos. Her life-changing experience and the generosity of the people of Kasi inspired her to write a book and launch the Faces of Hope Fund.
Learning to Breathe, One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival
Each day that I spent writing my book, Learning to Breathe, One Woman’s Journey of Spirit and Survival was a reminder that I am alive because of the benevolence of strangers. This realization was what inspired me to start The Faces of Hope fund. One hopes that making a photo will create awareness and make a difference but I wanted to give back in some small way to the communities that I’ve photographed and connected with during my travels. First and foremost I wanted to somehow repay the people of Kasi who had so determinedly worked to save my life after a devastating bus accident nearly claimed my life on a remote jungle road in Laos on January 2, 2000.
The initial project of the Faces of Hope fund was to partner with the non-profit organization Doctor to Doctor to help deliver medical supplies to the Kasi Clinic in Laos, to pay back the community that had saved my life on that nearly fateful day. I have never forgotten that I was saved by a small group of determined individuals who worked in a rural clinic with few resources–sparse medical equipment and medications, and without sutures, phones, or even beds. My experience there has become a daily touchstone for me, motivating my work as I continue to travel around the world, photographing endangered cultures and documenting issues concerning the human condition. It has brought a whole new empathy to my work.
Through their generous time and donations, five physicians from the California-based Doctor to Doctor non-profit organization accompanied me to Kasi, Laos with $10,000 worth of medical supplies.
We were greeted by the young man whom I discovered was not a doctor, not even a nurse and had stitched up my arm with an upholstery needle and simple thread. I was able to personally hand him sutures and tell him to use those next time!
It is still a very basic rural area with no phones and limited health care. There are still no proper beds or mattresses, screens on the windows, and extremely limited medical equipment. If patients need an x-ray or any kind of lab work done, they are sent five hours south by road to the capital of Vientiane. We had a discussion with the doctors and assessed what their other needs were. Topping the list was an x-ray machine. We hope to continue to help this clinic and others as a way of paying it forward.