Dannavieng Elementary School Revisited

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I went back to Dannavieng Elementary School on October 18, 2008. For those of you that are not familiar with this school, Dannavieng is home to one of our Book Box Library and the Lao School Building Project. As you can see from the video clips and the photos below, the new building is quite large at 8 meters wide by 50 meters long.

During my visit to Dannavieng Elementary School, the superintendent informed me there is no budget for the continuation of the building project because a new road to the temple was much needed. The annual collection for the school building project is 100,000 Kips per family.

It would be impossible to fund the new road at also the school building project within the same year since the collection for the new road was a burden for many villagers. The contribution was based on how many vehicles a family own and for some families they had to dish out 400,000 Kips to 500,000 Kips (at that time it was about 40 to 50 Euros) to fund the new paved road.

The superintendent also told me the school doesn’t have much in terms of supplies and are making the best of what they have now. Fortunately, Dannavieng is among several primary schools in the area to received blackboards from Booyoong Company of the Republic of Korea. Dr. Lee Joong-Keun, who is the president of Booyong company is known for promoting education in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos. In 2007, he received a First Class Development Medal for his contribution to education in Laos.

Despite the limited resources, the superintendent and the teachers are happy and proud of their new school. They are taking one step at a time as they told me in Lao language the phrase of “Koy Phen Koy Pai”. Por Thao Yai, who is one of the leaders in the school building project and also well known for building schools in the area since pre-1975 gave me the same positive outlook on the school building project.

Since they were able to financed a new road, Por Thao Yai said they should be able to complete the school in the near future. The priority is to complete the floor and Por Thao Yai believes they can collect enough money this coming Lao New Year for that. A modest estimation by my aunt-in-law puts the cost of pouring the concrete a little over $2,000. Of course they will have to get a real estimation from a construction company.

At the moment the debate is going on about the condition of the Kindergarten classroom. It is not healthy for them to be studying in a place where it is quite dirty. First option is to have the little ones switch places with the fifth graders. The second option is to put a halt on finishing up the new school and build a new pre-school. Going with the second option is appealing because the few preschoolers can relocate across the streets while the construction it taking place. But this would also mean no concrete floor for the new school nor doors and windows for awhile.

It is not my intention to solicit donations from members and visitors of Lao Voices. I only want to report the status of the school and to thank the donors (Friends of the NLL, Lao Cook, and Nye Noona) once again for their generous support for without it the students and teachers would not have had a roof over their heads and be able to use the new building earlier than anticipated.

Donors are all invited for the grand opening ceremony and we will keep you inform of the big date (when there is funding for such an event).

Dannavieng Elementary School

From Berlin with Love
A visit to NongDong Elementary School

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