Just across the border lies Laos. This country of fun loving gentle people had a tumultuous history. I recently visited Laos for the first time to help build Mozilla community in Laos.
Writer Thomas Wanhoff lives Vientiane. He is the organizer of Barcamp Vientiane. Mozilla participated in the previous Barcamp Vientiane. Thomas helped me understand the Lao history and culture over few bottles of dark Lao beer. Lack of infrastructure and resources hampered economic growth of Laos. Development aid that poured into this country had made very little difference. Recent efforts to develop internet entrepreneurship haven't been successful. Laos is slowly overcoming these problems. The 3G mobile network provides inexpensive internet connectivity. Large construction projects can be seen in Vientiane, new roads are replacing the pot holed dirt roads.
Visited ICT Association of Laos to talk about the Mozilla mission to promote innovation and choice on the web. Presented a demo of FirefoxOS and interacted with the team of localizers who are interested in localizing Firefox in Lao.
Also visited the ICT Center at Dang Dok Campus of University of Laos(NUoL). The university campus is connected with high-speed optic fiber network. ICT Center staff gave me tour of their new e-learning centers computer lab and digital multimedia studio and post-production facilities. The ICT center team expressed their interest to support Mozilla activities.
Now Lao web fonts are available Google web fonts (Early Access) system. This would enable Lao speakers to read localized content on computers and mobile devices that do not include Lao fonts.
The Mozilla Story with Lao Subtitles (Translated by Patthana Vilay)
Next step towards building Mozilla Lao community is get a core team organized and plan community events such as Mozilla Web Maker, Web developer events and Mozilla Lao Firefox localization sprints. Get in touch with me, if you want to get involved in Mozilla Lao community building effort.