As Coby Hallas, Tearfund’s creative director for 12 years, reflects on how she’s seen God weave stories of restoration in the world and her own life, she tells “Three Unforgettable Stories of Restoration” in a blog by the same name. 

A longtime partner with World Concern, Hallas completes her trilogy of stories by telling about a woman World Concern helped in Laos. In “Keo’s Commitment,” she writes: 

Keo’s family shared a small house with two other families. There was not enough rice to go around, and Keo and her husband had to travel to another village to work to feed their family. There was no extra income for daily expenses, like school fees or medicine. Tearfund’s partner, World Concern Laos, worked with Keo’s village on an integrated community development project, and a process of restoration happened not just for Keo and her family but the whole community. 

The project helped empower the community through a range of initiatives in the areas of health, water, food, and education. A village irrigation system opened new farmland, enabling Keo’s family to have their own rice paddy, and improvements to the village’s household water supply meant they could enlarge their veggie garden, enabling them to grow enough food for the whole family. Keo joined an adult literacy class and, after studying hard for one year, learned how to read and write. She also became involved with a savings and loans group and was asked to be the group’s bookkeeper. Keo shares: “If I had no money for the kids to go to school or if someone is sick and needs medicine, I can borrow from the group with very low interest.” 

The project also provided training and seedlings to help Keo establish her own small coffee plantation, a cash crop that enabled her to access a regular income. Keo eventually moved into her own home with space for her three children to grow, and her husband could return and live with the family again. 

To learn more about Keo’s story, watch her video.