In 2007, a small team of volunteers in the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of Lao PDR used a donated ambulance to create “Rescue Vientiane Capital” to provide first-aid service on the city’s roads, but only on weekends. In 2010, Sebastien Perret, a Frenchman living in Laos and a trained paramedic and firefighter, aghast at how victims are left to die because of the utter lack of emergency assistance, joined the foundation as a volunteer. Shortly thereafter, Perret, Laotian Phaichi Konepathoum, and five 15-year-old volunteers, created “VIENTIANE RESCUE” (VR) to operate a free ambulance service on a 24/7 basis, despite the absence of equipment, sponsors, and formal training.

In electing VIENTIANE RESCUE to receive the 2016 Ramon Magsaysay Award, the board of trustees recognizes its heroic work in saving Laotian lives in a time and place of great need, under the most deprived of circumstances, inspiring by their passionate humanitarianism a similar generosity of spirit in many others.