Vientiane student wins award in international youth food contest 2015 !

Malisa Sengdara, 15, a 10th Grader at Sengdara International Bilingual School and living in Thongkang village, Vientiane, was among the top three winners in the writing category on food at the 2015 International Youth Food Culture Contest.

The writing competition about food and arts sees participants from the US, UK, New Zealand, Canada, and other countries taking part. The event was held in California, USA, early last month.
The contest is an annual event to provide opportunities for students in primary and secondary schools to debate different aspects of food and culture.

All participants had to submit their topics of writing or art to the contest organising committee in the US, with the committee to select topics to classify for the award every year.

“It is a wonderful opportunity for students to showcase their writing and artistic skills while exploring their passions and thoughts about food,” said founder and chair of the contest organising committee, Mr Chris Wang.

He added “This year, we have received topics from students in North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. Most of their topics have reflected their food culture and are related to healthy and environmentally friendly food.”
“We are truly grateful that this contest has connected to so many peers around the world in such a positive way.”
As it happened, Malisa Sengdara, won third place for her short story titled “Champa,” about a student who brings Lao food from home in her lunchbox every day.

It examined the fact that the school had students from many countries studying there, so when the lunchboxes were opened every lunchtime, it became a bit of a showcase of food from nations around the world.

A little on the topic Champa:

Malisa's classmates often ask her “What do you have for lunch today?” Before Champa opens her lunch box, two classmates swing by, and gleefully sit on each side of Champa.

Champa puts both her hands on her lunch box, as if it is as heavy as lead.

“I'll have sushi today! What about you?'' asked Asako, a Japanese girl. Champa casts her eyes around without uttering a word, as if she has not heard her friend's question.

“I'll have a peanut butter sandwich,'' said Christine, another classmate from America, “What's your lunch, Champa?''
Champa bites her mouth. She slowly opens her lunch box. “Lao food again,” she sighs to herself. “Lao food is not exciting, not fancy, and not well known.” She immediately closes her lunch box before her friends see what's inside.

Malisa told Vientiane Times : “I didn't think that it would win the trophy for third place in the contest; I was surprised after the announcement.”

She added “I wanted to show the life of a student in Laos to the world, so that they would know more about my country through my topic. Although my country is landlocked and small, Laos is still rich in culture, nature and rivers.”

The International Youth Food Culture Contest is organised by Youth Food, a non-profit youth organisation in California that is supported by food experts and enthusiasts from around the world. Details of the contest can be found at:

In Marisa's category, the first winner was a student from West High School, USA, on the topic of “A Dollop of Sour Cream” (Poetry) followed by a Malaysian student from Poi Lam High School who submitted an essay titled “When I Think of Food”.
The contest idea stems from the realisation that in today's academically-focused, highly stressful school environments, there is a lack of proper channels for middle and high school age food enthusiasts to express their interest and share their thoughts on food.

It is the hope of the organisers that this contest will inspire and enlighten young food enthusiasts around the world.

The first of its kind, the contest proved to be successful when it was launched in 2014. In both the 2014 and 2015 contests, it received many inspiring entries from middle and high school students in North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa, sharing their reflections on the role of food in life and culture and expressing their thoughts on contributing to a healthier food environment.

The organisers are truly grateful that this contest has connected so many peers around the world in such a positive way.

Source: Vientianetimes


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