Our Team

Moo Baan Dek Raises Kids to be Powers of Good in the World – Thailand

Rajani Dhongchai, affectionately known as Mae Aew, and her husband, Piphop Dhongchai, started Moo Baan Dek, an alternative education school for underprivileged children, around the time when Thailand was adopting democracy as its government. Rajani Aew had taught in public schools but didn’t really like it, and was inspired by A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School to do something more for students. Since its conception, their philosophy has been simple–raise children with values of freedom, empowerment, equality, and compassion, and they will become functioning members of a democracy and happier human beings. 

Children come to Moo Baan Dek by way of state social workers or charity organizations. Around 150 students live at the site, many of them have been abused, abandoned, and orphaned.

Full Story available here:


Knitted Toques for Neonates

By Rie Tai,  Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

On behalf of the staff, families and children of at Lao Friends Hospital for Children would like to send a sincere thank you to Dr. Michael and Jane Woolnough. Their group has generously donated their time and resources to the kitting of small hats for young babies. These toques help keep the babies warm in their beds and provides a treat for their mothers by allowing them to choose a small (and important) gift for their newborn!

We are grateful for the work your group is currently undertaking. Depending on the desires of the group and your available resources, we have other demographics who would benefit from this program. For example we have many sick babies who are 30+ weeks old who would benefit from extra warmth during their recovery time.

I have attached a few photos of two neonates wearing the hats. 

Thank you again!

Best regards, 

Rie Tai


A Child Specialist’s Reflection of LFHC

Anna Tu is Certified Child Life Specialist from Vancouver, BC. Her role is to support, educate and advocate for children and families during healthcare experiences to improve coping and control. 

“My favourite part about being a Child Life Specialist is that I am always learning; everyday is different and I get to exercise my creativity to engage with patients. The biggest reward is to see their confidence grow as they learn through play and exploration with medical supplies and dolls.” 

Anna Tu Preparation Dolls AL2

Dr. Cheri’s Leadership at LFHC

by Akiko Arai, Friends Without a Border

Canadian involvement has been important since the very inception of the hospital. Canadian Dr. Cheri L. D. Njissen-Jordan, MD FRCPC FAAP MBA assumed leadership of the hospital as the Executive Director during the critical initial year, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the hospital as well as up to 100 Lao and international staff and volunteers. Just for Canadian Doctors magazine featured her work in the Spring 2016 issue. 

Support continued to come from the general public based in Canada, most notably through the annual Taste the World event. Since 2010, a dedicated group of community leaders have been hosting the charity wine tasting event at the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom in Vancouver. Looking to bring the event back to Calgary.  

This event is been raising fund for LAO FRIENDS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN in Luang Prabang Laos and MEDICAL ACTION MYANMAR Myanmar/Burma. From time to time funds also support Lao Friends sister hospital, Angkor Hospital for Children , in Siem Reap Cambodia. 

High resolution image of Dr. Cheri with child - full head shot of both Dr. Cheri coming out of surgery holding child high resolution


Teaching English as a second language can definitely be a challenge. Our experience at Wat Prok January 2017

By Valerie Hotte-Kilburn and Clea Jullien
“We had a wonderful experience working at Wat Prok for Maryknoll. We were welcomed and felt immediately at ease right from the beginning. We met many diverse and interesting people with lots to say, learned about the children, their lives, the culture and about the temple itself. Teaching English as a second language can definitely be a challenge, especially with the language barrier. It did take us some time to get used to the language barrier. But once we figured out our teaching methods and more importantly what works better for the children and their individual needs, we felt much more at ease and definitely had lots of fun with the kids. It was a wonderful experience to say the least, and would highly recommend it to anyone.”
We would like to thank you for the amazing opportunity.

Valerie and Cléa

Angela Heim-Ehmer also ran the Luang Prabang half marathon in support of Lao Friends Hospital for Children – so can you!

German  girl Oct 2015The amazing volunteer Angela Heim-Ehmer from Munich Germany…Angela with the pharmacy team at the Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

While she was here she also participated in running the 7km during the Luang Prabang half marathon which was a fundraiser for the hospital on Oct 18th, brought a bunch of needed donated medical supplies with her (all items that we have a lot of trouble finding locally), and will also be bringing back lots of LFHC pamphlets & photos with her to set up a fundraiser at her workplace in Germany. She is a real star!

“Hello, my name is Angela Heim-Ehmer, I come from Munich in Germany and worked as a volunteer in the pharmacy at the Lao Friend Hospital for Children since 4 weeks. We help the Laotian colleagues to develop the important standards for a hospital,support them in their daily work and work together to ensure a secure supply of children with medicine. I am very happy to be able to make a small contribution for children in and around Luang Prabang with my work at the Lao Friend Hospital for children.
I hope I will come back again! Many regards, Angela Heim-Ehmer”

Helen Catton, a conversation

Helen at TTW January 2015Having studied psychology, Helen initially worked in Japan for five years. She volunteered in South East Asia, seeing not only a great need for compassionate health care and education but also was struck by the imbalance of life that seems to be a roll of the dice. Helen believes that her privilege of being brought up with parents, opportunity, shelter and health care creates a responsibility for her to help those who were not as lucky to be born into what we consider basic human right.
She returned to the UK and studied nursing and gained practical care giving experience working in a London hospital.
She took a nursing course in tropical diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, then worked on the Thai Burmese border for two years mostly helping the Burmese, Mon and Karen who had little access to health care.

In 2010 she went to Angkor Hospital for Children which is a pediatric teaching hospital in order to manage the Satellite Clinic from the ground located one hour from Siem Reap in Cambodia. .
She dove in and found herself to be the only foreigner in the town and a large cultural and linguistic barrier. Her assimilation into Cambodia rural culture was started by living “in a modest, umm, house, with no running water; yet it was replete with spiders, scorpions and rats. Despite the cold water bucket baths and basic living conditions, she stuck it out, and is now transitioning the leadership of Satellite to the senior Cambodian staff.

Helen recently came to Vancouver and was a sought after speaker at hospitals and private gatherings. She has power point presentations about the hospital, she collects appropriate medical supplies and even donations of knitted hats for neonates and premature babies. Helen is creating awareness and interest for a community that is in desperate need of help. It is the kind of help that seems easy to give. “When there is so little, just a few things go a long way.”

2015 St Paul’s ICU at UBC dental dept UBC ICU

Angkor Hospital for Children, founded by Kenro Izu, annual budget is actually 6 million dollars.
Taste The World fundraiser promotes awareness and donors and funds the most pressing needs at the hospital. Because it is not a restricted donation it can fill areas of greatest need in the hospital.

“If I have my health and energy and something to share I want to share that privilege to balance out that equation.”

“ “I feel extremely grateful to be able to do a job I am extremely passionate about. It is not just a job but a passion.”

Helen Catton spoke at the last two TTW events. She is British nurse who has worked in Asia for 12 years she heads up the satellite hospital for AHC and leads the Cambodian team to provide healthcare to rural population.

The next 10 years for Friends without a Border & Founder Kenro Izu

……a few words with World of Children Award Honouree Kenro Izu

Where do you see Friends Without A Border going in the next 10 years?

Friends’ main focus over the next 10 years will be on Lao Friends Hospital for Children and developing programs of Treatment + Education + Prevention, and to create a center for teaching pediatrics in Lao PDR. Our goal is to build LFHC as the major education center of pediatric health care and create a positive impact on health care for the whole country.

With LFHC, the goal is that all children who seek help will receive high-quality and compassionate care…it’s as I always tell our staff, “Treat every patient as if they were your own child.”

How will World of Children Award help you to expand your program?

It will help us spread awareness and put a spotlight on an area that has been much neglected. Very little attention has been paid to Southeast Asia, Laos and Cambodia especially. This is simply due to the fact that many people are in the dark about the struggles those communities face, and how desperate the health situation is. Having the backing of such a respected organization as World of Children Award will help us reach a wider audience and will bring more weight to the situation.

Honouree Kenro Izu to Treat child as your own _2014-10-15_v01  Kenro Izu first encountered Cambodia’s appalling lack of pediatric healthcare when he met children suffering from a variety of disabilities and illnesses during a photography trip in 1993.
Tragically, he witnessed a young girl die in front of his eyes in the regional hospital. Her life was cut short because her parents could not pay the $2 needed to treat her. The hospital and the doctors of the hospital left the girl alone without providing any treatment.

Kenro Izu and his Friends Without a Border has treated over 1.2 million children….

Since 1999, Friends without a Board (FWAB) has treated over 1.2 million children and provided advanced training to thousands of health workers. Today, construction is complete and a similar state-of-the-art pediatric teaching hospital in Laos, the Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC), is open. Funding from World of Children Award helped FWAB construct and equip this new hospital in Laos.

“Our goal is to build LFHC as the major education center of pediatric health care and create a positive impact on health care for the whole country,” Kenro said.

IMAGE of bldg LFHC-Feb-2015-2

The Lao Friends Hospital for Children – A Sneak Peak Inside the Brand New Pediatric Facility  –This video was shot on location during a humanitarian trip led by World of Children Award Founders Harry Leibowitz and Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz. To see how you can help, visit: ‪https://www.worldofchildren.org/issue…

 Continuing education for LHFC clinical staffKenro Izu founder of FWAB, Kizumi, Akio Matsushima

Lao Friends Hospital for Children – Grand Opening

Grand Opening of Lao Friends Hospital for Children from Friends Without A Border on Vimeo.

Friends of Taste the World and the CW Asia Fund were on hand to celebrate the grand opening of the Lao Friends Hospital for Children on February 11th. Following the event, we received a special message from Kenro Izu, founder, Friends without a Border/Angkor Hospital for Children.

Thank you Canadian friends for joining the grand opening of Lao Friends Hospital for Children on February 11th! It meant a lot to me to see you there. It’s heartwarming to know that you and many other supporters are so dedicated, and rejoice in taking part of this significant milestone for Friends.

On February 12th, LFHC saw 47 patients and have continued to treat more than 50 patients each day. With the new pace in the outpatient department and daily education classes, the staff are making adjustments to strive for the best possible care.

Completing the construction just in 14 months is supposed to be a miracle in Laos, as I was told. YOU made this possible and I can’t thank you enough! My sincere appreciation for your continued support.

With gratitude,