This project is our featured project for the season. With over 600 students including primary and secondary, 39 teachers (most who live in small, shared dormitories on site), the school is sponsored by the Provincial Government for the most part. A vegetable field, tended to, by the students and a small fish pond augment the food supply for the students and live-in teachers. Up until now, the students were being fed twice per day, Monday through Friday, with only rice being offered on the weekends. Their water cost is not supported by the government at a cost of $10,000 to $12,000 USD per year. Our goal was to eliminate this cost, in favour of supporting the students food supply. In order to do this, Adopt A Village in Laos agreed to drill two water wells, provide water tanks and tie into the existing infrastructure, in addition to repairs needs for taps that didn’t work. It is exciting to see the results. Lets get acquainted with the school;
It is always so fulfilling and encouraging to be able to provide water filters for the northern, rural villages in Laos. We see the suffering from a lack of clean water. Disease from water borne bacteria increases infant mortality, shortens lifespans, and reduces productivity and learning. So far this season, our Lao team has distributed family water filters to 5 more villages and a primary school, including Ban Sang Primary School with 7 filters, Ban Longkham with 137 families, Naluang with 51 systems, Ban Pakhan with 131 units, Ban Topnai with 82 systems and Ban Yaro with 91 units. So far, these two distributions have provided for about 2,450 villagers. Two thirds of these systems were financed through our dear friends Barbara Seagram and Patti Lee, who teach bridge and have done an annual fundraiser for many years. In addition, many personal friends, friends of Rotary and Rotarians have contributed to the success of this program over the years. Our heartfelt thanks go to each and every one of you, who continue to make this world a better place. Here are some highlights;
It is hoped that the team will be able to do one more smaller filter distribution in the coming weeks, to add to these villages. With a new Covid Lockdown, it may have to wait, although Laos has done an excellent job at border control, limiting the spread of infection in their country to 64, at the time of this post.
The first water project of the season was completed just a couple of weeks ago. This village of Poung Jong has over 300 residents consisting of Hmong and Khmu ethnic backgrounds. Their main income is from tobacco, with most of it going to China. During the off season, the women focus on their weaving for sales of their Lao Skirts in Luang Prabang. The village has no electricity and up until now, they had no permanent water supply.
During the lockdown around the world, entry to Laos has been blocked so travel there by team members and project visitors was not possible. It meant that more paid labour was required at the sites, more coordination and management from Canada (with a 12 hour time zone difference), delays in getting pipe and connectors into the country and fundraising has been more of a challenge than ever before. As expected, many of our usual donors have chosen to support our local food banks, PPE (personal protective equipment) and other emergency supplies to those struggling here at home. However, the project targets were eventually reached! Here are some highlights of the Poung Jong project.
We offer our sincerest of thanks to all the Rotary members that raised the funds and made positive change for this village. THANK YOU!