Ex-refugee exceeds target in raising funds to build school

Ex-refugee exceeds target in raising funds to build school
Former refugee Sanva Saephan holding a copy of his book Stateless: Diary Of A Spirited Boy At Napho Camp, which was compiled from diary entries.

Less than three weeks after launching a memoir to raise US$45,000 (S$56,000) to build a primary school back home in Laos, former refugee Sanva Saephan has already exceeded his target.

Around $65,000 has been collected through donations and the sale of some 1,600 copies of his book, which was released on Sept 17.

But the 26-year-old operations analyst at Credit Suisse bank, who moved to Singapore on an Asean scholarship in 2003, is not done in his quest to give his countrymen the same shot at a better life.

He wants to use the almost $10,000 extra to start a scholarship for needy university students back home.

And to further raise awareness, Mr Saephan also plans to invite volunteers from Singapore to help at the new school - a single-storey structure in Ban Nam Tong village in north-western Laos.

"I hope to involve as many Singaporeans as possible in the project. This will allow them to learn about Laos and hopefully they can appreciate life here more, too."

The school, which will have five classrooms, an office and a toilet for 250 students, is expected to be completed in December.

It is a 45-minute drive from his family home in Ban Bokeo village.

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