COPE Centre – Where Evokes the Power of Sympathy

It is necessary to remember that Laos holds a tragic record of being the most bombed country during the Viet Nam war lasting from 1964 to 1973. In this period, more than 2 million tons of bombs were released, in which a large number of this military equipment was buried in the Lao fields and villages. As a result, these bombs which failed to explode have brought potential or directly serious dangers for the Laotians. Hence, the COPE Center was established to support victims of bomb consequences in Laos.

If you are in Vientiane metropolis, you really must add COPE Center Laos to your itinerary, which ensures to open your hearts with meaningful life lessons.

What is COPE? 

Museum Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise, or COPE, is a locally run non-profit organization established in 1997 for the purpose of supporting Laotians with physical disabilities with clinical treatment and rehabilitation programs. With a headquarters in Vientiane, COPE has other five rehabilitation centers in different provinces to cover the hard-to-reach regions.

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Apart from the amount of money donated from international or private groups, this organization also co-operates with National Rehabilitation Centre (NRC) of the government. By this way, the costs of making prosthetic legs, producing orthotic devices, medical treatments, travelling, and living for all patients here can be affordable. 

Moreover, its slogan “helping people move on” has partly proved how well they did to provide assistance for disabled individuals, especially children to developing independence and become an active member of society. In particular, young patients whose families cannot take care are given chances to live in cozy houses and study at schools.

Highlights of COPE Centre

When it comes to COPE Visitor Center, this place houses a free permanent exhibition about Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) which caused injuries for thousands of people in Laos, survivors' experiences and significant information provided by COPE.

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At first impression, the entrance that leads to the center has a sculpture mainly made from 500kg of bomb casings’ metal. Perhaps, the statue is the embodiment of gratitude for all those who were injured, lost lives and lovers. 

Coming further into the center, the striking items that draw your attention first are bombies dangled from the ceiling. Obviously, they are regarded as the main factor for a variety of all serious injuries or tragic deaths of unfortunate Lao victims after the war. In a little more detail, the issues caused by UXO are also recorded to lively display in an exhibition here. Never can we easily forget a movie room with some typical documentary films about Lao bombings’ history such as Bomb Harvest, Bombies, or Deadly Harvest. To economize, Lao people take advantages of destroyed munitions' recycled pieces of to produce necessary items for their daily life like cooking pots, knives and rice cookers.

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Moreover, COPE workshop offers you opportunities to observe the making process of prosthetic legs from polypropylene which stands out as a highly durable but cheap material.

Both built from local bamboos, the Karma Cafe and COPE gift shop here seem to be great sites that you ought not to skip. Specifically, whilst Karma Cafe gives you a comfortable sense of having a break to dive in a cup of Lao coffee or homemade ice cream, COPE gift shop often displays numerous colorful T-shirts as well as postcards. Buying them is also an indirect way for you to make a donation for this organization.

cope center laos 4The 44th President of US Barack Obama on His Visit to COPE Center

Further information 

Address: Khouvieng Road, Simuang Village, Sisattanak District, Vientiane.

Tel: +856-21-241972

Opening Hours: 09:00 – 18:00

                           Monday-Sunday (except public holiday)

Website: www.copelaos.org

How to get there: Route No. 32, bus No. 62, 69, 72. 77, 85

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Needless to say, all of interactive displays, excellent documentaries and imagery will definitely provide a thought-provoking experience to anyone who coming here.

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