Why we are Helping and how YOU can get involved

The remote villages of Laos have never recovered from the 'Secret' war of the 1960's. While rich in culture and tradition, their education, healthcare and hygiene conditions are severely lacking. The average lifespan is only 56 years and average age is only 20.8, caused by poor quality water, poor hygiene and general poverty. BUT with your help we have already made a difference in the lives of over 2700 villagers.

We have built schools in the villages of Pha Yong and Had Chanh, and a 3rd school located in Done Lom is under construction. We have also distributed over 200 water filters systems and completed hygiene training for three entire villages. Each family is required to take this course before a filter is provided, in order to promote a longer, healthier and happier life. A new water source including a dam, water tank and taps has been completed, as has our first bank of hygienic toilets.

It doesn't stop there. We have requests for 34 new projects and with your help, will do what we can to support as many requests as possible.

You can help in so many different ways. Before you do though, note that less than 5% will go to direct overhead costs, contrary to many NGO's who's overheads can reach 80%. Sponsors for every project will receive emailed pictures and details of how the money was spent.

Here are some examples of how you can help with your financial contribution.

- $55 buys a water purification filter for a family of 8.
It will also include your name on the water filter and a picture forwarded to you with the family and the filter unit.
- $12,500 US buys a school for grades 1, 2 and 3. Perhaps you would like to sponsor or assist us to sponsor a school.
- $4,000 US (approx) buys school tables and desks for a three room school and a two-room kindergarten.
- $700 US (approx) pays for a teacher for one year
- $50 US buys education for one child for one year including school fees, 2 uniforms, shoes, backpack and school supplies.
hygienic washroom facilities rane depending on the number of stalls and start at about $3000, but are critical to prevent more disease.

If you would like to become involved and to help the people of rural Laos help themselves lead a more fulfilling life, please email us at AdoptaVillageinLaos@gmail.com. Official Tax Receipts are not yet possible although we hope to receive charitable status this summer. Meanwhile we would still love to hear of your interest.

Please help............we cannot do this alone....

Meanwhile, please enjoy our updates below.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Governors, Officials and a New Village!

Pauline was pretty dissapointed at not being able to join us in our overnight visit to the villages so as soon as I got back I managed to get lucky. We were asked to join Somnuek (The General Manager) and the owner of Le Belair Resort, to visit a new village, along with the Governor of Luang Prabang, the ex governor (who sat behind me!!), the deputy governor and the heads of Education and Water and Hygiene. What a treat!

We had heard of the needs of this new village. The Government is attempting to move over 300 families consisting of Mong and Khmu, although the Mong tribe has declined. Still, about 100 families have made the move and are awaiting for land to be given to them for purposes of farming. They currently have three water tanks with taps coming directly off them although the underground piping has not been completed. Other than that nothing is finished yet. The road is a misery to ride, but they have plans to build a primary school (about 20% finished), secondary school, market, bus stop, and hygienic toilets. Many of these villagers have to travel back to their own farmland up in the hills and down in the valleys until they get new property.

We have been asked to assist of course with a secondary school, and clean water. There is a one room secondary school about 5km further up the road and the local village plans to build one more room each year. Our thought was that if we could provide the travelling students with bicycles, then only one secondary school would be required.

The villagers are extremely poor, some worse that others - most do not have latrines of any kind and just go in the bush. It reminds me of a poster in one of the villages I had seen that shows the Government trying to teach the children from pooping in the middle of the street and directing them to a nearby bush! Hmmm.....enough said.

Pauline and Lisa from A Mine Free World Foundation and Adopt A Village in Laos donated 80 mosquito nets to the poorer villagers, and Le Belair Resort donated 100 blankets.

Here are a few pictures of the memories.

This picture is of the Luang Prabang Governor, Lisa McCoy, the owner of Le Belair and myself being presented with a certificate of thanks for the mosquito nets.

Above - The villagers from Ban Nong Bue Kon patiently awaiting the start of the ceremonies, celebrating their first anniversary of the village. This village is lcoated about 2 hours southwest of Luang Prabang.

Somnuek brought a bag of goodies for many of the kids, ranging from books to clothing in an offering of hope to the new village.

From the left: Somnuek Bounsa, The owner of Le Belair Resort, The Governor of Luang Prabang and me.

This is a makeshift school run from volunteers from Canada who have since departed. If you look closely at the sign sitting on the ground you can make aout the words 'Canada'

On the way back to Luang Prabang Somnuek took us to this small village of Nong Hepe. It was a three room school but in need of some major repairs. The Primary 4 and 5 kids without bicycles need to walk 1 1/2 hours each way to go to primary school. Once that is done they can go to secondary school if they can afford it. There are about 10 kids who cannot afford the 85,000 KIP to go (about $10 US). In the primary school there is no latrine at all.

I will be asking for a proposal for a school latrine and for costs to re-parge the outside of the school - at least it is made with concrete block. For the kids that can't afford to go, I will make sure they are able to go next year and if all goes well, Rotary Wheels for Learning will be able to sponsor bicycles for those that cannot afford them. These will cut the travel time down to 30 minutes each way.

Other than some translations that need to be done, I am in a bit of a holding pattern for this years projects. Specifically,
1) Huephen Village needing a water source is in the final stages of approval - we should receive the final stamp any day now so we can start on the project.
2) LadThahae Village needing access steps for the school and underground piping to their latrines for the school is revising their proposal - they just elected a new village chief so there is much for him to learn I guess. The revised proposal is expected in about two weeks. Other than the chiefs stamp, nothing else will be required for the project to start.
3) Done Lom School - I received the document back that needs some translation but most of it is what I gave them. The did get a village and a Department of Education stamp but they did not get a Water and Hygiene Stamp - I think they forgot, plus there is no estimated costing. Once I get some crucial diagrams from the Water and Hygiene department expected today or tomorrow, I will rework their proposal and get the final costing done.
4) Hygienic Toilets - I am waiting for the diagrams from the water and hygiene department as mentioned and will hire an official to map out Had Chanh and Pha Yong Village to determine where to put the latrines. Depending on the condition of the diagrams I may be able to start this within a month.
5) Water Filter - final distribution. This will be done immediately following the completion of the new water source in Huephen Village.
6) School Teachers - I find that one of the schools never did get a second teacher so I won't be paying for that and will save it for one of next year's project. Once I am successful in opening a bank account here I will arrange for payment of the teacher in Pha Yong Village.

So there you have it.

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