Ka Touat, Laos Community Development Project
The rural village of Baan Ka Touat is located in southwestern Laos. However, Ka Touat is actually 2 villages merged into one. Previously, Baan Ka Touat and Baan Bang were separated although they are now joined with a total population of approximately 1008.Furthermore, 80% of the villagers are of the Laventibe ethnic minority and 20% are Lao Lum. This is unique because the predominate ethnicity in Laos is Lao Lum. The villagers primary source of income is from growing and selling coffee beans. As a result, this Laos community development project would need private funding.
Originally, their school building had been constructed by the villagers in 1984. This school building facilitated the education of 175 students grades 1-5 (79 male, 96 female).
Condition of Previous Building
The villagers were unable to provide adequate maintenance and the building had fallen into severe disrepair. As a result, the rusty corrugated roof leaked and the dirt floor would become dusty in the dry season and muddy pot holes formed in the rainy season. Therefore, the students would frequently become sick due to the unhygienic conditions.
Furthermore, the school was too small for the student population and inadequate classroom partitions made learning very difficult. Also, there was no electricity and lack of natural light in the classrooms obstructs concentration and damages eyesight.
Private Funding Needed
I agreed to provide 100% funding for the Laos community development project. Community participation is always encouraged to foster a sense of ownership and inclusion. The resources of Baan Ka Touat were limited however, they volunteered to provide their own labor, wood frames for the structure, scaffolding and soil for the building. Additionally, both the government and the community would be responsible for the school after construction was completed. As a result, construction began September 2014 and completion was expected in the spring of 2015.
Completed Laos Community Development Project
The Ka Touat, Laos school project was completed on schedule. Therefore, the official school opening ceremony was held in September 2015. The new school building consisted of one building with 6 classrooms and 2 toilets.
The classrooms were much better situated to provide adequate lighting and this dramatically improved the learning environment. Additionally, adequate partitions now separated the classrooms effectively reducing the noise levels.
Students attending the school opening ceremony are gathered in one of the new classrooms.
School Opening Ceremony
Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the opening ceremony for my Laos community development project. However, a representative from Child’s Dream Foundation would be attending on both our behalves. Typically, the opening ceremony is also attended by many students, their families, all the teachers and local administrative officials.
Overall, I funded an additional school project in Laos similar to this and also 2 Cambodia Community Development Projects. The projects were very beneficial to the local communities. As a result, a sense of community ownership and community development is fostered. Additionally, school children have a clean safe place to attend school which encourages attendance.
Photos courtesy of Child’s Dream Foundation