Education is a high priority in Laos. Students flock to school anxious to learn. But there are not enough schools to adequately accommodate all the students, and with their open-air construction, dirt floors and weathered planks for desks, the schools that do exist are meager at best.
Often, it is necessary for several villages to share a school. Depending on the population, there are up to 90 students per classroom, making it necessary for classes to be held in shifts with some students attending in the morning and some attending in the afternoon. With this arrangement, students can attend school only four hours a day.
Since the number of students far outweighs the number of schools, most children are limited to a fifth-grade education. Where access to middle school and high school is available, girls usually do not attend because the schools lack the necessary bathroom facilities they need after puberty.
Our goal is to eliminate these obstacles to education by building cement schools equipped with proper desks, blackboards, teaching equipment, electricity, ventilation, and outdoor boys’ and girls’ restrooms. We can build a six-classroom school like the one shown for approximately $35,000 to $45,000.
Pictures - click to enlarge
Because of their thatched roofs and open-air construction, schools cannot be held during the rainy season.
Typical conditions in existing schools.
Six-room schools like this one, which we built in Nam Bak, will open the doors to education for approximately 400 students.