“I want to work on disability inclusion campaigns to create awareness and change people’s perception and attitudes towards the disability community. It’s not just about equality but also about equity in accessibility, accommodation, and opportunities”
Meet Chayphet Phanthakesone, Prosthetist and Orthotist Advisor, Champasak Hospital Rehabilitation Center. For over 20years Chayphet has worked to support people living with disabilities, specifically people who use Prosthetics and who are often survivors of UXO or traffic accidents.
Now, as an Australia Awards Alumni, Chayphet is using her Masters Degree from @FlindersUniversity to become a leader and improve disability policies and practices in Laos.
Chayphet Phanthakesone’s journey through her study and career demonstrates what perseverance and passion truly mean. Chayphet has dedicated over 20 years of her life to working with and advocating for the disability community in Laos, specifically with Prosthesis Users. Yet, as content, as she was doing what she loved, Chayphet realized there are still aspects that could be improved when supporting the disability community in Laos. So, Chayphet asked herself: “What could be done better? What is it that’s lacking? How can I provide better service and support to patients?”.
Chayphet shared with us, “I can always return to my practice, but to provide better service and support, I need to understand the bigger picture and the bigger issues, and how to address them, which led me to the studies of Disability Policies and Practice.”
Chayphet then decided to take a break from her work to pursue a Masters of Disability Policies and Practices at Flinders University in Australia. She felt wonderful and fortunate to attend an institution such as Flinders that welcomes students from different backgrounds and students with disabilities. Being able to partake in studies with her peers who identified with different levels of disability brought Chayphet closer to the goal she had set.
During her studies, not only was she a part of the Laos Student Association and the Disability Association, Chayphet also completed a compulsory 150-hour placement where she worked at the Autism Center of South Australia. She was commended by the center for her outstanding work, voted as favorite personnel by the individuals she worked with, and appointed as an ambassador representing Flinders University.
Returning to Laos, Chayphet now works as a Prosthetist and Orthotist Supervisor. She is also in line to be the first female Deputy Director of the Rehabilitation Center at Champasak Provincial Hospital. Chayphet also gained more opportunities to work on projects and take on bigger roles which have been a huge milestone for her goal in promoting social inclusiveness and providing better care for patients with disabilities. Chayphet draws on the connections and international networking she gained during her studies in Australia to share and discuss work.
Chayphet’s personal goal is to work on disability inclusion campaigns to create awareness and change people’s conception and attitudes towards the disability community. Starting with holding workshops directed to entities and parties such as teachers and medical professions that work with are involved with people with disability. She believes that these changes will lead to the improvement of disability policies and practices in Laos.