Amy Chanthaphavong, the founder of I AM Amarai, invites you to join her team on their journey in Story No. 2 to discover what is “Modern Laos”
Amy believes that personal stories have the power to change people and mobilize tangible impact in the world. She’s on a mission to inspire the world to grow emotionally and spiritually with a deeper appreciation for human connection. Amy is a Jill of all trades with a background in politics, law, business, fashion, media and technology. Once a beauty queen, she was the first Laotian American to be crowned Miss Asian America in 2009. Pageantry was a chapter in her life that allowed her to travel and meet amazing individuals doing great things within their communities. It was a life-changing experience that opened her eyes to needs around the world and fueled her passion to impact lives through Hope, Faith & Love.
The Mission for Story No. 2
There are a few films that touch on the history of Laos and the Laotian diaspora after the Vietnam War, even fewer films that look into Laos’ future. My team and I have been working tirelessly for the past few months to prepare for this journey to discover what is “Modern Laos?
I AM Amarai aspires to produce a short film in search of young and modern thinkers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders to discover what defines “Modern Laos.”
Laos, previously a colonial and war torn country, is on track to post an impressive 8.3% GDP growth rate in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund. Having opened it’s gates to foreign investment, the Lao economy is set for boom years ahead as increased infrastructure helps expand trade and tourism. At the same time, more than a third of Laos’s population continues to live below the global poverty line of $1.25 USD per day.Economic boom doesn’t necessarily translate to sustainable social development. But we believe there are pioneers who are addressing poverty in creative ways and taking entrepreneurial risks to develop responsible businesses.
We want to seek out pioneers in Laos and share their story with YOU! By helping us bring awareness and inspiration through storytelling, YOU can be a part of this movement to help a once war-torn country transition from surviving to thriving and innovating.
Amy’s Love for Laos
My parent’s fled Laos as refugees after the Vietnam War with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Though I was born in the U.S., it has been a dream of mine to build a social business in my parent’s native country. But I have often faced opposition, family members and friends have tried to persuade me to abandon this dream for a more conservative plan. Why? FEAR.
- Fear of the country’s legal system as laws are being developed, but not fully enforced
- Fear due to the belief that a one-party political system fundamentally lacks impartiality
- Fear of corruption
Even with all this fear, foreign interest in Laos is growing due to the nation’s array of natural resources, land availability and openness to overseas enterprise. Laos is one of the final frontiers for investors in Asia and its economic future looks promising.
Could FEAR be the very thing preventing Laos from sailing into its destiny as a thriving gem in Southeast Asia? Could FEAR be the biggest obstacle for entrepreneurs abroad who desire to develop social businesses in one of the least developed nations in Asia? Could FEAR be what is sustaining poverty in Laos?
Let’s find out together… you can be a part of this journey!
– Amy Chanthaphavong,
Founder and Chief Storyteller of I AM Amarai
How YOU Can Help