A conversation with Senglavy Phanongsith (Noy)

What is life like when you are a woman with disability living in Laos?

Inspired stories about everyday women with disabilities leading everyday lives, give us an opportunity to meet women from all over the world, learn more about them and share a slice of everyday life from their unique space and place in our world.

Some stories are bold and dramatic, some are simple and quiet, some are raw and thought provoking. All of them are beautiful and honest.

So? What is life like when you are a woman with disability living in Laos?

In the first of the Inspired series of stories from Laos women, we meet Noy..

Senglavy Phanongsith, otherwise known as Noy has a sense of humour and a way of moving through this world that shines a light on how far she has come since she went into hospital at aged 8, only to leave unable to move about the world in the same way. Noy now leads a life that defies others’ assumptions about her abilities.

Noy shares her journey with us, in the first of our series of Inspired stories from Laotian women leading the best lives they can.

Find out more about how I was inspired to share this series of Laotian women’s stories with you here.

Tell us about yourself…

I’m Senglavy Phanongsith (Noy) and I am 30 years old.

What has been your journey of disability?

I was having fever and tremors when I was 8. I was hospitalized for three to four months and got some injections during that time. After leaving the hospital I could not walk anymore. I went to have rehabilitation training for a year to be able to walk again.

Are there things about you that people misunderstand because of your disability?

I would walk clumsily, so people thought I can only work slowly and cannot commute without having difficulty.

Who inspires you? Where do you get inspiration from?

I get inspiration from my family, my friends, and from my community.

Which three words would you use to describe yourself?

I am…small, thin and white.

Who or what has been the most significant influences on who you are today?

The people who I learnt from at school, my work colleagues, and disability associations.


What’s one thing about you that surprises people?

Friends often thought I cannot do anything but they are surprised when they learn that I can.

For what are you most grateful today?

I’m grateful that I have my parents, teachers, and friends.

Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give your 18-year-old self?

Back then I was too shy to go out into the bigger world. If I could go back in time, I would tell my 18-year-old self to not be too afraid to get involved in a larger community.

Do you have one crazy funny story you can share?

People often tell me I have the music in me. When I walk, my hands and legs are moving into different directions as if I was dancing along with some music.

Is there something that you would like people to know about you or about people with disability that they might not know?

I want to tell other friends with disabilities that even if we are disabled, we must do our best at work and work hard. Keep trying!

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