COPE Visitor Centre Vientiane Laos. Essential Visit.

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COPE Vientiane is a non-profit organisation in Laos which provides prosthetic limbs, mobility assistance and rehabilitation for Lao people who can’t afford it. We took a look at their visitor centre in Vientiane, Laos’s capital, this morning. It was one of those incredible places that had me rushing home to get a post written and published straight away. If you are in Laos or Vientiane, you really must add this museum to your itinerary, it will open your minds and your hearts and with kids it’s an essential part of their travelling education.

COPE visitor centre Vientiane. Artificial limbs from cope Laos
Artificial limbs at Cope Vientiane

Cope Laos, the Visitor Centre

Cluster Bombs in Laos

Were you aware of any of this?

  • Laos is still suffering the effects of the horrific bombings in the 1960s. Over 2 million tons of ordnance were dropped on Laos between 1964 and 1973, about 30% didn’t explode.  Laos is still littered with UXO, people die and are horrifically injured, still, today.
  • Last year, 2012,  4 children died when they made a fire in their garden. The unexploded bomb had been lying in the ground for years, the heat of the fire detonated it.
  • People die when they are gardening, farming or searching for crabs in muddy rivers. People, often children, die searching for scrap metal to sell.

This is one type of cluster bomb, a casing containing hundreds of small bombies or bomblettes. Dropped from the air they spread to cover a large area. 80 million active bombies remained in Laos after the war.

Cope Laos. Cluster bombs at cope visitor centre vientiane
Cluster bombs, horrific isn’t it?

COPE Doesn’t Only Help Bomb Victims

COPE Vientiane provides around 1300 mobility devices every year, including prosthetics. They don’t only deal with amputees, they help children with congenital malformations, too.

They deserve your support.

Visit the COPE centre in Vientiane, admission is free. You can buy something from the shop or make a donation to help support them.

You can find more information about fundraising for COPE here.

Cope Vientiane Laos

Visit COPE Vientiane, they need your support

The COPE visitor centre is a small museum but a fantastic one. It’s not at all harrowing and it’s very suitable for children. They can touch, handle and try out the mobility devices on display. My children learnt a lot this morning and so did I. I’d like to thank Cope Laos for that and for their valuable work for the Lao people.

I already knew that Laos is the most bombed country per capita IN THE WORLD. We’ve seen parts of bombs used as flower pots, decorations and recycled into useful objects all over Laos. I didn’t realise that the bomb casings we saw were from cluster bombs. I didn’t ever really know what a cluster bomb was.

bombing in Laos COPE visitor centre Vientianne
You will see remnants of the bombing all over Laos

Most countries in the world have banned the use of cluster bombs, the United States, Israel, Russia, China, India and Pakistan haven’t. Doesn’t that say a lot? Find out more about the campaign to ban cluster bombs here.

Cope Laos. Visiting the cost visitor centre Vientiane Laos

The young man in the picture was there this morning at COPE Vientiane. He has lost his sight and his hands. He is part of the global campaign to ban cluster bombs. Please go, the cope visitor centre is fairly small and will only take up maybe half a day for you, this is one of the most educational museums we’ve ever visited and a real eye opener. Support Cope Laos in their important work for this wonderful country’s people.

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About the author
Alyson Long
Alyson Long is a British medical scientist who jumped ship to chase dreams. A former Chief Biomedical Scientist at London's West Middlesex Hospital she started in website creation and travel writing in 2011. Alyson is a full-time blogger and travel writer, a published author, and owns several websites. World Travel Family is the biggest. A lifetime of wanderlust and over 6 years of full-time travel, plus a separate 12 month gap year, has given Alyson and the family some travel expert smarts to share with you on this world travel site. Today Alyson still travels extensively to update this site and continue her mission to visit every country, but she's often at home on her farm in Australia.

5 thoughts on “COPE Visitor Centre Vientiane Laos. Essential Visit.”

  1. Yes, yes, yes – I’ve talked (and written) a lot about Laos since I was there last winter – and most people don’t even know where it is, let alone have any idea of the trauma people have gone through there. It’s a beautiful country, and deserves better.

    And the COPE centre – is painful, and humbling, and so important. Images from the film I saw come back to trouble me still

  2. unreal what the road is giving you and your kids alyson. thank you for sharing this and for caring so much to share it with others. i’m going to share it now dear. gabi

  3. Great post Alyson, this really is an issue worth highlighting. I remember reading about the horrific effects of cluster bombs used by the Americans in Iraq (even though their use is against Geneva conventions) – such hideous inventions. I didn’t know that Laos was the most bombed country per capita though – that is really shocking. We’ll be sure to visit COPE when we get to Laos in a few months.

  4. Wow Alyson, this is amazing. Thanks so much for sharing. That picture of the cluster bombs hanging is scary! I didn’t know what one was either.


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