Location of Impact
In Laos, one of the poorest countries in Southeast Asia, a lack of educational infrastructure is one of the greatest barriers to accessing a quality education (BBC News Asia). 27% of people in Laos are illiterate, with even higher illiteracy rates amongst ethnic minorities (World Bank 2014).
Pencils of Promise works with 88 communities in Laos to ensure that our students overcome these, and other, barriers to accessing a quality education. To date, PoP has impacted over 61,400 lives in Laos.
Luang Prabang Province, located in Northern Laos, sits at the intersection of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers. Although a beautiful area, Luang Prabang lacks sufficient educational infrastructure.
PoP has built over 85 schools in Luang Prabang Province, working in collaboration with communities to couple school builds with teacher training workshops in order to ensure that our students are benefitting from both access to educational infrastructure and access to quality instruction.
Since a storm damaged their school in 2015, students of Phon Xieng, in the Luang Prabang province of Laos, have been attending class in a community hall made of wood and corrugated metal. The wood showed signs of deterioration, evidenced by mold and water marks, while portions of the roof were discolored from rust. Inside, classrooms were congested, making it difficult for students to focus and concentrate. Whenever community meetings were held in the hall, students were not permitted to use the space and, therefore, had to travel to a different, overcrowded school. These conditions were not conducive to learning.
Stuart Weitzman recognized and responded to the needs of Phon Xieng by helping PoP and the community break ground on a new three-classroom school. Teachers, parents and community members were dedicated and committed to the project, contributing up to 20 percent of resources and labor. The Ministry of Education was also supportive throughout the build. After three months, we mounted the plaque, concluding tireless work to build a school equipped with formal blackboards, benches, desks, doors, walls and windows. Stuart Weitzman made this school build possible, creating a safe, strong structural foundation where students in Phon Xieng will be able to learn and realize their potential and promise.