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 88 schools in Luang Prabang Province, working in collaboration with communities to couple school builds with teacher training, in order to ensure that our students are benefitting from access to both educational infrastructure and quality instruction.
An Aging Provisional Structure
When our team first visited Sa Preschool and Primary school, they found students being taught in an aging provisional structure made of wood, dirt floors and a corrugated metal roof. The wood showed signs of deterioration, evidenced by mold and water marks, which posed as a health hazard to students. Furthermore, classrooms were congested due to overcrowding, making it difficult for students to focus and concentrate. As a result of the spillover, students had to use a meeting room for class. However, when meetings were held, students were not permitted to use the space. The school did not have the capacity to meet the needs of the growing student population and these conditions were not conducive to learning.
Now, A New 3-Classroom School
You recognized and responded to the needs of Sa by helping PoP and the community break ground on a new 3-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. You made this school build possible, creating a safe, strong structural foundation where students in Sa will be able to learn and realize their potential and promise.