School Building Project

During my three weeks stay in my uncle’s hometown, Bane Dannavieng, in January/February of 2007, I visited the local school out of curiosity. To my surprise, the school buildings didn’t look any better than my former school in Vientiane.

Since there is no budget for education, the villagers are left to take care of their local school system and do the best they can – with extremely limited resources – for children in the school’s proximity.

My family and I donated some money to the school along with some pens and pencils for the teachers and students.

Since we collected enough money for four book boxes library and had the option of selecting which schools we wanted to donate the book boxes to. Dannavieng Elementary was selected as one of the schools to receive a book box.

These villagers did the best they could and built a few buildings for the elementary school and middle school. There was no local high school and, because of this, many students could not continue their education after elementary school.

Bane Dannavieng, was able to build a new high school through a self-started local funding. Under the guidance of Phor Yai (big father) the villagers would put in $10.00 (per family, a considerable amount for Lao villagers) annually into a village fund to build a school. It took them quite a few years to complete their first high school but they succeeded.

Presently, the stream of many younger students entering the school has grown very fast. The elementary school became overcrowded and the school board was forced to build a new elementary school. This project is expected to complete in three years at best. In the mean time, because of the large number of students, pre-school students are obligated to cut lessons short in order to enable older students to use the classrooms.

Since the school building project has lifted off, classes are being held outside during good weather for some of the students that can’t fit into this one building. This situation is far from ideal in an educational system that already lacks many resources.

Fortunately, this positive story does not end there. When I came back from Laos and posted about the school building project in Bane Dannavieng, readers and members of Lao Planet displayed great interest in the project and offered to help in many ways. Through these actions we were able to fund a substantial part of the new school’s roof.

The new elementary school of Dannavieng is 8 meters wide by 50 meters long (8×50 meters) with 6 classrooms. Currently, 5 rooms are being used for 1st to 5th grade classes. One is being used as an administrative office and a library room for the school’s Lao Book Box Library.

Dannavieng School Building Project in Laos

Dannavieng School Building Project in Laos

Dannavieng School Building Project in Laos

Dannavieng School Building Project Supporters:

April 2007
Nye Noona – $50.00
Friends of the NLL – $200.00
Lao Cook – 400.00 Euros

December 2007
Nye Noona – $150.00
Friends of the NLL – $350.00

August 2008
Amphone – $50.00
Nye Noona – $250.00
Friends of the NLL – $250.00

Many thanks to the contributors of the school building project thus far. The villagers have expressed their gratitude and are very happy to know people abroad do care about them. If the contributors are ever in the area, you have been invited to stop by for a visit with the students and teachers and have a tour of the school.

Kind regards,

Recent updates on Dannavieng Building School Project in Laos

Dannavieng’s School Building Project Updated News, October 10, 2007.
Updated news from Dannavieng school, June 24, 2008.
A visit to Dannavieng Elementary School, December 28, 2008.
Dannavieng Elementary School Revisited, February 11, 2009.
Dannavieng Elementary School has a new name, March 03, 2009.
Lao School Building Project Updated Photos, February 24, 2011.

Dannavieng Elementary part one

Dannavieng Elementary part two

Leave a Reply

  1. Hello,

    My name is Manoj.  I funded two secondary schools in Cambodia and I am interested in funding some development projects in Laos such as a school, books boxes, etc.  I have been to Nong Khai and Chiang Khong in Thailand but I have not been to Laos yet.  I sent an email to Kongdeuane Nettavongs, the librarian of the National Library of Laos and the contact person for Reading Promotion Program.  Can you give me some advice and information how I can best help the children of Laos have a better future? 

    🙂 Thank You,
    Manoj Paul, Pharm. D., M. S.
    9101 South 84TH Avenue Hickory Hills, IL 60457-1801
    (708) 598-9214
    Night Pharmacist
    Resurrection Health Care
    Saint Joseph Hospital
    2900 North Lake Shore Drive
    Chicago, IL 60657
    (773) 665-3140 (773) 665-3462 FAX

  2. Dear DJ,

    I just read your article about your efforts in building a high school in Bane Dannavieng. I really admire and commend your efforts to bring education further along beyond elementary school for the local children.
    Please let us know if you need any assistance. I would also like to know what is included in the book boxes. They seem very well packed with books. It’s caring people like you who will help Lao move further along in education torwards a better future. Keep up with the great work.

    All the Best,
    Barbara Shimoda
    Give Children A Choice.

  3. Dear DJ,

    I am very impressed about your effort in Laos. We are a small charity based in Hong Kong and we have built schools in different parts of Asia in the past few years. We would like to see if we can help in Laos. I am very interested in knowing more about your work and your future plans in Laos, and see if we can play a part too.

    Please keep up with the good work and I sincerely look forward to hearing from you.

    Best wishes,
    Agnes Cheng
    Studer Trust

  4. Hi Manoj Paul,

    Pretty much anything you can do to help the children of Laos is good. There are many worthy NGOs in Laos that you can contact and see if you can help in anyway or set up your own organization if you want to.

  5. Dear Barbara Shimoda,

    Thank you for your continual efforts in helping the children of Laos. I can’t take any credit for the school building project at Ban Dannavieng. I only posted about it and thanks to many generous donors, the school is more than half way completed. There is still a lot of needed assistance and it is not just this school. Every where I went it is always the same story with needing funding to improve the school. I will contact you for further information in the near future.

    As for the book boxes, the books have been packed by the National Library of Laos. We bought the book boxes at $200.00 a piece. This included the shipping cost to send the book box to a school of our choice. The books included are fiction and non-fiction and they have been approved by the Ministry of Education. The books are produced locally and have been purchased by the National Library of Laos for their Reading Promotion Program.

    You can see what type of books that were put in the book boxes for the year 2007 in our Gallery.

  6. Dear Agnes Cheng,

    Thank you for your interest in helping the children of Laos. I will contact you soon to give you more information about what you can do to help with promoting education in Laos.

  7. Dear DJ,

    I am impressed with your energy. I want to help by donating to school building project but I don’t see paypal. What to do now?

    I hope you are well.

    ai Amphone

  8. Sabaidee Ai Amphone,

    I will contact you when I get back on how you can help with the school directly, which ever you want to help. I have given $50.00 that you donated to Houaylao Elementary School to help them get some fans. There was no electricity at the school and so I had a line put in so the school can have electricity and the teachers didn’t have a budget for fans or anything.

    The next time you go to Laos and to Pakse you can visit Houaylao Elementary School and see your full name registered under the donation. The teachers and students sent their best wishes and a big thank you to you.

  9. Darly, thank you. You are a great ambassador. I didn’t expect all that but thanks again. I will certainly visit Pakse again. I have relatives there.

    Good luck to you,

    Ai AP

  10. Everyone have some sort of tie back to the South. The South (Tai Tài) will rise again. 🙂

  11. Sabaidee Ai Amphone,

    You are much welcome. I was told yesterday that they have electricity now and I will get the photos next week.

  12. Dallas,

    Don’t forget me. I am half Tai Tai too you know. I have Vientiane accent but I’m as dark as a typical Tai Tai. 😛

  13. Darly,

    There are so much to learn about Laos. Laos is one place on earth I would like to tour. Now that I thought about it. Why spending money somewhere else. I just hope I can visit soon.

    Ai Amphone

  14. Greetings!

    I’ve always wanted to visit Laos because I have a friend who is teaching English in Pakse. I admire your efforts to give children a chance for a better future. I want to be a part of your school building project. Please let me know how. I hope I can visit soon.

    Best regards,

    Jessa May Mendez
    Cebu, Phils.

  15. I’m such a firm believer in education and after seeing the condition of the school, I’m speechless. I want to help but too afraid of the negative repercussion from the political influences in the country. I’m planning to visit Lao ( E-Lai)  for the first time in 2011. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and fled the country during 1988. Anyway, I will enjoy the first-time visit.

  16. I have been planning this trip for quite sometime now, I don’t know how to react and still uncertain how much involvement do I want to participate in educating the native people. We’ll see.

    “Life is not measured by
    the number of breaths we take,
    but by the moments
    that take our breath away.”

    Keep up the work on this website.

    John Vorana

  17. Hi John,

    I was recently informed by a former Lao embassador to the US that whatever you want to do will have to go through a proper channel via the US embassy in the US if you are from that country in particular. Many people think they can just go to Laos and pass out educational materials or start a project without informing the officials and obtaining a permission at the embassy. Doing so will result in fines and imprisonment.

    Whatever project you want to start must be registered with the Lao embassy in your country. That way you can get proper credit and official approval from the government. This is to prevent cases like people passing out Bibles to the locals on the basis of coming to help with education and later distributing religious materials.

  18. Hi Sao Darly,  I just wanted to start off by saying how impressed I am by the commitment of yourself, the villagers and readers from Laovoices in this project. Truly inspirational. I have in mind a smaller project and it would be great if I could ask you a few questions by email in regards to this?


  19. Bravo to those give time and money to building school and a big thank to all givers. 

    I do agree with Laos govt. regarding to get an approval first, to prevant a religious spreading instead of education.  I’d not want to see a mulism religious spread into Laos and take over her culture as it has done in Indonesia.  When I saw Indonesai girls wearing stuffs that cover up all their face, I’m sad, especially in the 21th century and I do not believe Middle East culture and its religious are good culture to be adopted by any society or culture, especially for women and girls. 

    The poor and uneducated groups are vulnerable and more likely to loss one culture and identify to oil rich country to their attempt of spreading middle east religious and culture, Indonesai is a good example. 

    I want to believe mulism religious has a good foundation, but based on its current members, its practice, and it resistance and not willing to update and make progress with time; especially, when it not speak out loud enough against those committed evil in the name of its religious (it’s as same as condone or say it’s ok and justify those evil actions); I’m uncomfortable and associate mulism as negative religious and culture.

  20. I have wonderfull have many tourist  visit to Lao and test of Lao food , Tradition and lao live style. I hope many many from the world to help children us to tech many many good to them

  21. Hi Darly,
    Can you tell me where I can donate or how to donate to the schools in Laos?  It’s great what you guys are doing. My grandmother lives in Vientiane still and I hope one day to visit her in Laos and see my home country.


  22. Hi Somphone,

    Thank you for reaching out to the less fortunate in Laos. I do hope you will be able to visit Laos in the near future. I was blessed to be able to visit my grandmother before she passed away two years ago. My other grandmother who I was very close to passed away before I was able to visit her along with my great-grandmother.

    There are many NGOs in Laos that are in need of help. Please check out and to see if these two organizations can use your help.

  23. sa bai dee, this is a great idea. what’s better than education? great work and keep it up and let;s move Laos into the next tier…

  24. Hi Sao Darley,
    A friend  draw my attention to your site. Great all the things you have reached!
    I have worked for four years in Laos as a volunteer, married with a Sian, she is born in the South of Laos.
    We have also set up a foundation to help people in Laos. Have a look at
    Click on the English flag for English language. The Dutch part is more extended, maybe use google translation?

    We live in Nootdorp, very close to The Hague, the Netherlands. 
    Very keen to hear more from you.

    Adrie de Koning.

  25. Dear Darly and Barbara,

    I was guided to your project by Kaying Yang. I am now registering for 501-3-c under “momobooks”. As well as self- publishing English language learning texts I have been developing new teaching methods and conducting teacher training, now primarily through PADETC under Dr. Sombath Somphone. 

    I hope you would be interested in coordinating efforts. Some rural schools are empty because of the lack of texts and teachers. We can put the hardware and the software together.

    Hoping to hear from you.
    Sincerely yours,