Friends Without A Border

It might be said that Friends Without A Border was developed in the darkroom of a photographer's imagination. The photographer, Kenro Izu, founded the organization soon after capturing images of the Angkor monuments in Cambodia—a photo shoot that forever changed his life, as well as the lives of countless children in Southeast Asia.

The illness and death of children that Kenro witnessed roughly 25 years ago in Cambodia compelled him to take action. He summoned friends, fellow photographers and donors and persuaded them to help him organize a nonprofit organization to build pediatric hospitals in regions where modern medicine was not readily available.

Since then, Friends has built two pediatric facilities, Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Cambodia and Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) in Lao PDR. Operation of AHC was handed over to local management in 2013, as planned. The focus of Friends is currently on LFHC, which opened in 2015.

Situated in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Luang Prabang, LFHC has already earned a reputation in the region for providing top-quality, compassionate pediatric care and has become a source of pride for the local community.

A growing caseload testifies to the important role LFHC plays in the region. And our caseload has grown dramatically. Our doctors and nurses treated nearly 18,500 children in the Outpatient Department and Emergency Room last year—25 percent more than they did in 2016. Nearly 2,100 children were hospitalized as inpatients, a 56-percent increase from 2016.

Doctors and nurses from around the world volunteer at LFHC and not only treat children, but also train and mentor Lao doctors and nurses. Together, they are transforming LFHC into a medically sophisticated facility. Our staff is now tackling several complex diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The facility has opened clinics to treat children with thalassemia, an inherited blood disorder, and children with developmental disabilities—services which were not previously available in the region. Additionally, an expanded Neonatal Unit is scheduled to open later this year.

Our hospital, which will be conveyed to the Luang Prabang Provincial Hospital in 2025, is clearly helping to shape the future of health care in Lao PDR.

Thank you to the artists, contributors, committee members, sponsors, supporters, and volunteers of the 2018 Friends of Friends Photography Auction and of all the past years. Each of you has helped inherit the spirit and compassion of Friends Without A Border—proof that among friends, there truly are no borders.

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