The Laos River Village Project is based in the Luang Prabang region of northern Laos and is primarily aimed at improving educational opportunities for children in rural communities along the Mekong River. The project is administered by an English charity Baraka Community Partnerships who support the Laotian organization Community Learning International (CLI).
Our new school is now complete!!
Construction in the village of Nong Kham started in November 2012 and after hard work (mainly) from the villagers but also our recent volunteer group, the school will be officially opened on 8th February 2013. Our get involved departure spent a couple of days working alongside the villagers to help speed along the building process and their manual labour certainly helped motivate the villagers if not entertain them. The school funded entirely by Exodus, our clients and Baraka Community Partnerships, is a two-classroom structure with a separate toilet block that will house about 40 children.
Thanks also to Exodus groups who have ventured out on the local ‘book boat’ from Luang Prabang (supported by Baraka and run by their local charity partners Community Learning International). These boats take books to approximately 150 remote villages every year along the Ou and Mekong rivers that are usually inaccessible by road and therefore receive no formal education.
Exodus and Baraka Community Partnerships, who we work with on various other projects, are supporting the local organisation CLI and their established Children’s Library Boat project. If you would like to buy some books from the CLI office in Luang Prabang or join one of the boat journeys to a remote village, please ask your leader who can arrange this locally. Alternatively, Exodus and Baraka will be running another Get Involved Volunteer departure in December 2013. To register your interest, please contact Paula in our groups department.
WHAT IS THIS PROJECT ALL ABOUT? Click here to find out ...
Baraka Community Partnerships have been supporting a small NGO called Community Learning International (CLI) for many years and Exodus have joined with their support in order to further this local organisation's great work in 2012. CLI is a small NGO with 15 years experience providing rural development projects in northern Laos, primarily in Luang Prabang Province. An important scheme they run is the Lao Children's Library Boat project, where 2 'book boats' bring Lao language books and learning activities to nearly 100 villages along the Mekong River and tributaries. Without these 'book boats' the village children would have no access to books to read so it is unsurprising that they eagerly await each boat visit.
Most of these villages can only be reached by river and as a consequence village development lags behind other villages accessible by road. Infrastructure projects, such as school construction, tend to be routed to villages most easily reached, simply because the cost is consequently lower. The "software" aspects of development sometimes associated with infrastructure improvements (additional teachers assigned to a village, improved health practices through training following building a better water supply, etc.) accrue also to these villages. The river villages, by contrast, have tended to remain less developed and thus poorer, so our focus (along with Baraka and CLI) is to offer support to these areas.
WHAT DO WE WANT TO ACHIEVE THIS YEAR? Click here to find out ...
The Library Boat project for Lao children is already established in the area and we would like some of our clients who already visit Luang Prabang to spend just half a day enjoying a boat trip down the Mekong River so they can see the excellent work completed by CLI. There is a small charge locally for our clients to join the 'book boat' (to cover fuel expenses etc) yet the experience of visiting some remote communities and playing games and interacting with the children is an unforgettable experience.
Our main aim for 2012 is to build two schools in rural villages where development is not provided due to lack of road access. We anticipate the cost for each village project to be around $12,000 and thanks to Exodus offering 50% of this amount, we are sure to be able to get started on work in 2012. In these remote communities, the children cannot wait to get to school every day to learn so we hope you can help us achieve our goal by donating via the link above. Please note that in 2012, any donations from yourselves will be match funded by Baraka Community Partnerships.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP?
1) Firstly, if you are planning on visiting Laos on one of our trips, please make everyone in your group aware of what Exodus are doing. Help us spread the word!
2) If you are visiting Laos on one of our trips you may choose to take the optional tour available from Luang Prabang to join a 'book boat'. Your leader will provide a cost locally as this will depend on which village is going to be visited by CLI's boats. It is an unforgettable experience to join the boat trip down the Mekong River and visit one of the remote villages along the river and see the team in action playing games with rural schoolchildren.
3) ) If you would like to help even more then why not join our next Get Involved volunteer trip in 2013. We are still working on this itinerary but please email Paula to register your interest and we will let you know as soon as it is on sale.
4) Any extra funds will make a huge difference to help us reach our next goal, which is to take on a new school project in another remote village inaccessible by road.
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW MORE?
You can contact our Exodus Project Managers Amanda Ceraolo or Andy McKee for further information.
Amanda works in the Exodus office and Andy is an Exodus Tour Leader as well as the Director of Operations for the small charity Baraka Community Partnerships.
For more information on the local charity Community Learning International (CLI), please click here.