HOF014: Phanomnhong Aryavong
Prior to the political and economic upheaval in Laos, Phanomnhong Aryavong worked for the public service. As his concerns about the political changes in Laos grew, he along with his wife and four children fled their home and secretly purchased a boat on the Laotian shore of the Mekong River. They rowed the boat to Thailand where they were eventually brought to the Nong Khai refugee camp. They stayed there for several months where the family applied to immigrate to several countries. They chose to come to Canada and settled in Ottawa. They benefitted from the support of generous sponsors which not only allowed both parents to find employment, but also their children to complete their education.
To this day, the family remains very grateful to their generous sponsors. All of the family members became permanent Canadians citizens and now consider Canada to be their permanent homeland.