The power of books allowed me to dream

Ms. Sounita Phimmasone
Laos / Announcer, news anchor, National TV Station

SVA has been supporting the operation of Children’s Home, a comprehensive facility for children, since 1996. Sounitar, who was good at singing and dancing and also was able to tell stories from picture books, was a kind of leader among the children regularly coming to Children’s Home.

Children’s Home was a Home away Home for a Shy Girl

I work in the media sector as a newscaster, journalist, and host of children’s program in Laos. Though I was a very shy girl, reading books at Children’s Home inspired me to get a job in public speaking.

In July 1996, Children’s Home was opened as a project to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the founding of the All-Japan Prefectural and Municipal Workers Union (JICHIRO) to encourage Lao children to learn about their own culture and take pride in it. It has been operated by the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism of Laos in cooperation with SVA. As well as being able to use the library for a small membership fee, you can take courses in dance, musical instruments, Japanese, etc. as you like. Nearly 500 children, mainly elementary and lower secondary school students, made use of the facility every week.

I grew up in Vientiane, Laos. My parents divorced when I was very young. I visited Children’s Home for the first time when I was in the fifth grade of elementary school to distract myself from loneliness. There was a time when mother told me that I should not go to Children’s Home. But I still visited it behind her back. Even at that time, everyone at Children’s Home treated me like family.

A Library Is Not Just a Place for Reading Books

In Children’s Home, I could borrow the books from the library to read at home, make friends, and enjoy many events. Attracted by its enchantment, I regularly visited the library, where the storytelling by the librarians appealed to me most. Eventually I started reading books to others, and this helped me not only learn to read but also develop my speaking skills.

Aside from providing a place to read books, the library offers many more things that can change our lives in a positive way and help children discover their own talents, such as various events and activities. Of all places, it was the library that made me aware that I could become an announcer, reporter, or even radio DJ.

While I Like Working in the TV Industry, What I Really Want to Do Is …

I currently read the news as an announcer on the Laos National Television Station and also work as a host of children’s programs. In addition to working as a TV anchor, I am also energetically working as a DJ to deliver messages to teenagers and as a reporter for a program that introduces traditional Lao cuisine.

Though I like working in the TV industry, what I really want to do is work related to children and youth. That’s why my biggest dream is to become the director of Children’s Home.

Books Inspired Me

I believe that books have great power to change people’s lives for the better. The library has a variety of picture books, events, and activities that give children the skills they need to live and help them discover their abilities. In fact, books inspired me to have big dreams.

Sounitar performing a dance during her visit to Japan for SVA’s 35th anniversary event in December 2016

My encounter with the library enabled me to work as an announcer and reporter. The library gave me so many opportunities to come across something new, to meet people, and to gain knowledge. I am so grateful that SVA and the library have given me wonderful opportunities in my life.