The rural countryside of northern Lao PDR is rugged and mountainous. The population is scattered across small and remote villages, making the delivery of public services difficult. Somsavath Tai Primary School is one example of the challenges faced by rural schools.
When the school was built in the 1980s, it was intended only to serve grades one through three. As the local population increased in the years since, the school has had to expand to providing classes from pre-primary to grade five. But the school and community lack the resources to develop or improve its infrastructure despite the growing number of students it serves.
During a visit to the school, we discovered that the roof of the central school building was leaking badly in several places. Years of harsh rainy seasons had worn away the ceiling, rendering several classrooms unsafe for use. While the foundational structure of a number of additional classrooms had been built, the community lacked the resources to complete the ceiling and plaster the walls. The school had to use these unfinished classrooms in order to accommodate all of their students, but without proper completion, the classrooms were extremely hot and unsafe.
In collaboration with the school administration and the community, Aide et Action undertook the renovation of Somsavath Tai Primary School in order to provide a safer and more conducive learning environment for students. Over the course of four weeks, the roof of the central building was completely replaced using more durable materials. Ceilings were installed in the classrooms, and the building walls plastered and painted.
Additionally, the classrooms were installed with ceiling fans and lights. Because the construction took place during the wet season, there were a number of challenges and delays. But the team persevered in order to complete the renovations before the start of the new school year.
The construction was completed at the end of August 2019, just in time to welcome the incoming students at the start of the 2019-2020 school year in September.