For those children that are not obtaining their education at Wat Phonsikhay, the other option is public school. Phonsikhay school is not much different than most schools in Laos, with simple architecture and basic equipments to run a class room. But it is better than not having a school at all.
One positive thing to smile about is the fact that Phonsikhay elementary school now has a Book Box Library, thanks to members and supporters of Laoplanet website.
There is no high school at the moment and the villagers are trying their best to come up with a new school. Then to make matter worse, a hurricane came through Thailand three years ago and Pakse was also a victim. One school building at Bane Phonsikhay flew away. Now the school is overcrowded with not enough classrooms for the students to attend courses.
The villagers decided to take up a collection to build a new school but didn’t go beyond putting down a foundation. Bane Phonsikhay is not as well off as Bane Dannavieng (the village we are helping with their school building project). The villagers at Bane Phonsikhay can’t afford to pay into the general fund as much as Bane Dannavieng. The result is what you see in the photos.
At the moment, the villagers are working on building a paved road to Wat Phonsikhay from the main street. The government will pay half of the cost and the villagers will have to pay half as well as doing the work themselves. Working on another project is taking up resources away from building a new school.
I share these photos and a story with you because I want to show how things are in Laos for many of the villages all over the country. When I saw those photos I thought about my own school in Vientiane. It didn’t look any better than this. But I had the best education that I could have had in Laos. Being able to attend school and having two school uniforms each year was not easy to come by for me. My parents had to saved all year just so I can have note books and pencils for the entire school year.
Some children at Bane Phonsikhay are not able to attend schools because they can’t afford to buy note books and pencils, let alone school uniforms. They are not alone, there are other children like them, in Laos in many countries around the world. This is life, this is reality. What can you do about it really?