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LDWDC: A Vital Organisation Supporting Disabled Women in Laos

Vientiane, 25 July 2022 – The British Business Group was privileged to have the chance to visit the Lao Disabled Women’s Development Centre (LDWDC) on 23 July 2022 to learn firsthand about the significant contribution the Centre is making to the lives of women with disability nationwide.

The British Business Group – which is the local chamber of commerce for UK-focused businesses, trading partners and friends under the patronage of the British Embassy – has been a long-term supporter of LDWDC. The visit was organized to help raise awareness among British Business Group members about LDWDC and to explore future opportunities for collaboration.

LDWDC was established at its current location near the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge in Vientiane Capital by Madam Chanpheng Sivila in 2002. It currently supports 30-35 women every year with access to remedial medical treatment, physical therapy, prosthetics, health education, life skills alongside vocational training in I.T., dress-making, weaving and pottery.

Over the years LDWDC has assisted more than 1500 women with disabilities. After completing a structured program of training and support, LDWDC helps trainees secure employment with local companies or to establish their own business.  Follow-up surveys have confirmed that two-thirds of LDWDC graduates have gained more autonomy and are able to earn a living upon returning home.

Visitors from the British Business Group were given a warm welcome by Madam Chanpheng and her staff, who explained the history, purpose and focus of the Centre. “We want to promote inclusion and show everyone that women with disability can contribute to their family and society” she explained, before leading a tour of the facilities to see the breadth of activities on offer.

The Centre offers taster-sessions on a range of handicraft activities including weaving, pottery, paper making and upcycling. It is an educational and fun way to spend a few hours or full day. For more information on arranging a visit, see the LDWDC (, Facebook or phone 021 812282

Advisory Board Member – Souphachanh Khansyla

Souphachanh Khansyla (May) is the Chief Operating Officer at ANZ Banking Group, Lao branch.

May is an experienced International Banker with a demonstrated history of 15 years working with ANZ across Operations, Relationship Coverage, Research & Analysis and Transaction Banking with a primary focus on Institutional Clients including Financial Institutions. As a Chief Operating Officer, May works very closely with businesses to deliver seamless services to their customers.

May is also a champion promoting Gender Equality in her workplace. May was invited by the UN to participate as one of the Panelists at the Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Event held on 15/16 Mar 2016 in New York, speaking on ‘The Generation of Change Agents” to promote Gender Equality. May is also a mentor / supporter for other Lao women (outside ANZ Laos) who want to advance their career in leadership roles.

Within the BBGL, May is an Advisory Board Member supporting the Management & Finance sub-committees.

On a personal note, she is an opened minded individual with strong growth mindset, who has always been fully committed throughout her career and is a strong working mother of three children.

UTD Education Centre

Tel: 020 5204 8888

Executive Board Member – Daniel Marcus

Daniel Marcus established his fabric hand weaving business in Lao PDR in 2011. He was one of very few people to be issued with a 100% foreign ownership license for handicraft products.  The company originally called Soie de Lune was rebranded in Laos as Studio Silapa. The workshop, based in Vientiane Capital, hand weaves fabrics for export. In addition to weaving fabric, Marcus with his business partner Ms. Paipon Saiyedath, established a fabric dyeing business, one of the only professional dye shops in the country.

They also provide on-site training for both weaving and dyeing and their mission is to create business opportunities for artisans in Laos, to enable them to make a living from their artistic endeavours and to preserve Lao patrimony.  Previously, Marcus worked in Telecoms for France Telecom / Orange in Paris. He now resides in London, UK and continues to support the BBGL remotely. 

Advisory Board Member – Patria Puyat

Patria Puyat is the General Manager of Crowne Plaza Vientiane, an international five-star hotel in Vientiane and part of the InterContinental Hotels and Resorts.

Before joining Crowne Plaza Vientiane in August 2019, Patria was previously with IHG’s flagship properties in Dubai which includes InterContinental Dubai Festival City, Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City, an Event Centre and Festival Arena before being appointed as the General Manager for the brand defining Holiday Inn Dubai Festival City.

Patria got her Hotel Management degree from Les Roches Global Hospitality Education in Bluche, Switzerland and has worked extensively in the hotel industry for more than 30 years in areas from sales and marketing, food and beverages, conferences and events, and hotel management.

Since joining Crowne Plaza Vientiane, her leadership continued to propel and strengthen the hotel position in Vientiane and has led the hotel to achieve numerous global awards.